Teen Supplement Use Raises Concern

If supplement use amongst teens continues to rise, there will undoubtedly be new stringent school regulations and new FDA laws.


The word supplement has become a catchall for workout enhancement products. There are healthy supplements—vitamins, minerals and protein; and there are unhealthy supplements—steroids, amphetamines, and hormone cocktails—some of which drive (and thrive in) black market fitness.

(Interested in taking the plunge? Here are Five Questions to Ask Before Choosing a Supplement.)

Because the word "supplement" encompasses so much and has such a negative connotation, healthy supplements often acquire a mistakenly unhealthy reputation. This creates a dichotomy regarding the fitness nutrition of young adults. Healthy options like vitamins and protein clearly benefit athletes on the court, field or track. Yet the National Federation of State High School Associations comes down hard on dietary additions, holding that even natural and legal substances can be dangerous if misused. Parents, meanwhile, worry about pressure from coaches and peers that can lead to unhealthy decisions. And when healthy legal supplements are floating around the locker room and weight room, it raises the risk of students falling victim to illegal chemical supplements.

(Read up on Do's and Don'ts of Dietary Supplements.)

If supplement use continues to rise, it is sure to be met by more stringent school policies, FDA regulations, and heightened interest in the topic, stimulating more conversations about supplements with coaches and teachers. This is a serious matter for schools. Both males and females engage in unhealthy supplement use.

Read the full article at NorwichBulletin.com: On Running: Supplements can play dangerous role in teens.

Photo: K. Tallmadge

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