Reports of professional athletes using anabolic steroids and other potentially performance-enhancing drugs routinely grab headlines and spark debate. Yet far greater numbers of young student athletes are using these substances, with much less fanfare.
A recent Pride Survey (conducted by International Survey Associates in Bowling Green, Ky) of more than 120 000 US students who were in grades 6 through 12 during the 2008-2009 school year found that nearly 2% of junior high students reported using steroids in the past year and almost 5% of 12th graders reported such use (http://www.pridesurveys.com/customercenter/us08ns.pdf). Boys report disproportionately higher rates of use, with 7.1% of 12th-grade males reporting past-year steroid use during that period compared with 2.7% of 12th-grade females. Such rates are consistent with previous estimates that have ranged between 4% to 11% of adolescent boys and as many of 3% of adolescent girls in high school, according to a 2006 literature review (Calfee R and Fadale P. Pediatrics. 2006;117:e577-e589).
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Chicago-area high school athletes Dean Knieps, Ross Falk, Eric Lee, and Nick DeBenedetti prepare a presentation promoting nutritional techniques as an alternative to steroid use as of an ATLAS event sponsored by the Chicago Bears football team and held at Soldier Field stadium on October 20.
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