(NY Times, registration required)
Body-Conscious Boys Adopt Athletes' Taste for Steroids: They want to be buff. They want to be ripped. They want to glisten with six-pack abs and granite pecs like the hulks on Wrestlemania. But more than ever, American boys are trying to find designer bodies not just in a gym but also in a syringe of illegal steroids, or a bottle of the legal equivalent from a mall nutrition store, law enforcement officials, doctors and teenagers say.
[.....] it is in the high schools of middle America, and the gyms that cater to students off campus, where use of body-enhancing drugs has taken off — particularly among nonathletes. And for all the recent concern about an epidemic of youth obesity, the mania over instant bulk shows another side of the struggle for self-image. "Everybody wants to be big now," said Zeb Nava, a senior at Clearfield High School who has added nearly 50 pounds of muscle mass over the last two years by weight lifting, he said, adding that he had avoided all supplements. "The majority now are guys that don't do it for sports. They do it for girls. For the look."
Nearly half a million teenagers in the United States use steroids each year, according to the latest national survey done for federal drug agencies. While the use of other illegal drugs has fallen or leveled off, the number of high school seniors who had used steroids within a month increased nearly 50 percent last year, the survey found. Among high school sophomores, steroid use more than doubled nationwide from 1992 to 2000, according to the annual survey used by the National Institute of Drug Abuse. Another survey, done last year for Blue Cross Blue Shield, found that use of steroids and similar drugs increased by 25 percent from 1999 to 2000 among boys ages 12 to 17. This study, a national survey of 1,787 students, also found that 20 percent of the teenagers who admitted taking body-enhancing drugs did it because they wanted to look bigger, not because of sports.
Preston Alberts, a senior at Clearfield High who has been working with weights in the school gym for three years, said he had seen a different kind of lifter of late in the weight room: the vanity bodybuilder. "We notice a lot of kids now, they just want this certain type of body — with the abs and the ripped chest — and they want to get it quick," Mr. Alberts said.
Body image disorders: not just for women and gay men any more!
So in a few years, we can expect a truly unusual rash of shorter-than-expected men, sterility, interesting hormone induced cancers, lots of gynecomastia (heh. not quite what you meant by "big pecs", is it, guys?) and other fun medical conditions in the Youth of America! Joy!Posted by iain at November 22, 2002 02:41 PM