Steroid use higher among gay, bi teens

2014-02-03 18:37

(Shutterstock)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

kalahari.com

Chicago - Gay and bisexual teen boys in the US use illicit steroids at a rate almost six times higher than straight kids do, a "dramatic disparity" that points up a need to reach out to this group, researchers say.

Reasons for the differences are unclear. The study authors said its possible gay and bi boys feel more pressure to achieve a bulked-up "ideal" male physique, or that they think muscle-building steroids will help them fend off bullies.

Overall, 21% of gay or bisexual boys said they had ever used steroids, versus 4% of straight boys.

The difference was similar among those who reported moderate use, taking steroid pills or injections up to 40 times: 8% of gay or bi teens reported that amount, versus less than 2% of straight boys. The heaviest use, 40 or more times was reported by 4% of gays or bi boys, compared with less than 1% of straight teens.

The study is billed as the first to examine the problem; previous research has found similar disparities for other substance abuse.

"It's a bit sad that we saw such a large health disparity", especially among the most frequent steroid users, said co-author Aaron Blashill, a psychologist and scientist with the Fenway Institute, the research arm of a Boston health center that treats gays and lesbians.

"Given the dramatic disparity, it would seem that this is a population in which greater attention is needed", the authors said.

'A dangerous combo'

Their research was released on Monday in the journal Pediatrics.

The nationally representative study is an analysis of government surveys from 2005 and 2007. It involved 17 250 teen boys aged 16 on average; almost 4%, 635 boys were gay or bisexual. Blashill said its likely more recent data would show that the disparities persist.

Dr Rob Garofalo, adolescent medicine chief at Lurie Children's Hospital in Chicago, said the differences aren't surprising, since it is known that gay youth often have "body image issues". But he said, "It is still shocking. These are dramatically high rates".

The Food and Drug Administration issued a consumer update in November warning that teens and steroids are "a dangerous combo", citing government data showing that about 5% of high school boys and 2% of high school girls use steroids more than a half-million kids.

Steroids include synthetic versions of the male hormone testosterone. Users take them to promote muscle growth, strength and endurance. Side effects can include heart and liver problems, high blood pressure, acne and aggressive behavior. With their still-maturing bodies, teens face a heightened risk for problems that may be permanent, the FDA update.

Steroids are legally available only by prescription. There are few FDA-approved uses, including replacement of hormones in men who have unusually low levels.

Potential signs of abuse include mood swings, speedy muscle growth and even breast development in boys.

Garofalo said some of his gay and bi patients have admitted using steroids. Those patients sometimes have acne, high blood pressure, anxiety, or aggression related to steroid use, but those symptoms usually go away when the drug use stops, he said.

- AP
Read more on:    fda  |  us  |  narcotics
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
10 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/Music

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Up to 40% off fashion accessories

Save up to 40% on selected handbags, purses, watches, jewellery and more. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Save up to R2000 on top electronics

Get every day mind bowing savings on top electronics. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

As seen on TV - New book releases at only R199 each

Get mind blowing book savings on new titles. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Save up to 50% on Women’s month treats!

Celebrate the awesome women in your life with awesome treats like beauty products, fashion accessories, bestselling books, electronics and more. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 60% off - clearance sale!

Save up to 60% on appliances, books, electronics, toys, movies and more. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

The spotlight may be on you and you need to perform. This can be overwhelming and you need to stay as focussed and centred as you...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.