A new study from the University of Minnesota found that 5.9 percent of teen boys in Minneapolis and Saint Paul had used steroids. The researchers surmised that the influx of images of pumped-up men from David Beckham to 50 Cent affected boys idea of what their body should look like. In fact, 90 percent of boys reported that they were working on building body mass.
Here’s what Kerri wants to know: If you’re a teen or a young adult, do you see friends and fellow students using steroids? Why do young people do it? Do you think our ideas about body image are changing?
If you are a parent who thinks your son may have an eating disorder or might be using steroids, here are some tips from Common Sense Media:
• Check in. Ask your son whether his friends use risky methods to control their weight. Since boys will talk more easily about other people than themselves, you can get more information by asking about what friends do. Ask: Are any of your friends using steroids or supplements? Working out too much? Talking about “purging” after a pig out? If so, ask your son how he feels about it and whether he’s ever been tempted to engage in any of this behavior.
• Check for signs. Sudden weight loss (or gain), dramatically increased workouts, large muscle growth, and radically altered eating patterns are just a few signs of eating disorders or potential steroid or supplement use. If you think your son is at risk, make a doctor’s appointment immediately. This is critical not only for your son’s health but also for his mental well being, since eating disorders create a lot of feelings of shame. Sometimes your child might be more forthcoming with a health professional than with you, for fear of either letting you down or being criticized.
–Stephanie Curtis, social media host