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Study Finds Teens Putting More of an Emphasis on Muscles

Posted at: 11/22/2012 8:15 PM
Updated at: 11/22/2012 10:09 PM
By: Brittany Lewis

(ABC 6 News) -- A new study done by the University of Minnesota finds teens are using steroids and other muscle-enhancing behaviors at a rate higher than previously thought.

The study found both teenage boys and girls are putting more of an emphasis on building muscles and to do it, some are using thinks like protein powders and shakes, even steroids.

"It's not too uncommon to see a teenager running around with a shaker bottle with some sort of colored liquid in it,” said Josh Carow, the Fitness Director at Rochester Athletic Club.

Researchers at the University of Minnesota looked at 2700 teens and found that among boys, 90 percent worked out to get bigger muscles, close to 35 percent of them used protein powders or shakes, nearly 6 percent using steroids. For girls, 81 percent focused on muscles when working out. Over 20 percent used protein powders and close to five percent used steroids.

"That's kind of scary. Shouldn't be done at that level, shouldn't be done at any level,” said Shawn Kennedy, the football coach at Southland High School.

"I know that I've got kids that are using protein shakes and things like that as far as steroids, they better not be and I sure hope they're not, we've talked about that many times that you know guys, make sure you know what you're putting in your body."

He worries that some of this comes from teens concerned with their body image.

“It's about having those really ripped abs and that physiques and sometimes it concerns me a little bit,” he said.

"The main danger would be that we don't know what the potential effects of using any sort of supplement, protein supplement or otherwise on the teenage body is,” said Katherine Zeratsky, a registered dietician at Mayo Clinic. She says the safest way to get the right type of protein is through a healthy, well-balanced diet.

"3 ounces of meat is 21 grams, and 8 ounce glass of milk is 8 grams,” she said.

All recommend knowing what you’re putting in your body.