For natural bodybuilders who still believe that steroids are not a big deal and that, illegal or not, they are just a matter of “choice,” take your head out of the sand.
We have a serious epidemic of steroid use among young people in this country who are being influenced by those who make that “choice,” – those who appear on the major muscle mag covers, those whom you openly admire for their physiques (which are only possible with the use of steroids), those whom you pal around with or even work out with, and those whom you rabidly support at the untested shows even though it is contrary to the very principles you say you believe in. Your tacit defense of these charlatans under the pretense of “choice” is only contributing to the epidemic.
How bad is the problem?
In a new national survey – “The American Public’s Perception of Illegal Steroid Use” – 97% of the American Public believes that there are negative health effects from using steroids, but most – 81% – don’t believe that it is a big problem among high school students.
Commissioned by the Taylor Hooton Foundation , the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, and the Professional Baseball Athletic Trainers Society (PBATS), the study was developed by the Center for Social Development and Education and the Center for Survey Research at the University of Massachusetts Boston.
“The announcement today of our study is a step in waking up America to address this problem,” said Don Hooton, President of the Taylor Hooton Foundation. “We all need to understand that this problem is going in my child’s school and is most likely going on in my child’s circle of friends. We must realize that the solution to this problem begins with raising the awareness level of this drug problem.”
Consistent among all geographical regions of the country, all age groups, and even among sports enthusiasts and former athletes, the public generally perceives steroids to be lowest-rated problem among adolescents – even lower than eating disorders. This despite the fact that the most current study by the University of Minnesota, published in Pediatrics Magazine found that 5.9% of MIDDLE school and high school boys had used steroids and 4.6% of high school GIRLS had used them, according to Hooton. Some are even starting as young as 10 years old whether they play sports or not.
“Stated differently,” says Hooton, “there is an average of about one student using anabolic steroids in every high school classroom in America.”
It’s not just bodybuilders who are using steroids, of course – steroid use (or other PEDs) is prevalent among most major sports today – but the problem is the most blatantly visible among bodybuilders who are displayed in all their bloated, unnatural grotesqueness on the front row of thousands of magazine racks across the country readily available to every youngster who wants to have big muscles and doesn’t care how he/she gets them. And, many natural bodybuilders only serve to endorse the use of steroids when they purchase these very same magazines.
We’ve got a serious problem, and natural bodybuilders can be part of the solution. Just being natural yourself is not enough because your personal “choice” not to use steroids isn’t enough to influence most youngsters. Why? Because you simply don’t enjoy the same visibility as the druggies. Your picture doesn’t appear on the covers of the major muscle magazines. Your picture doesn’t appear in the endorsements for most of the supplement companies either. (Yes, there are exceptions to the latter, but when your picture is positioned next to the current Mr. O, which one does the average youngster want to be? It isn’t you, my friend.).
Why do you stand for it? When will you stand up to the magazine publishers and supplement companies and demand that that they clean up their act?
Bodybuilding has been bushwhacked by the steroid groupies over the past several decades, and they are destroying the sport by creating a whole new generation of steroid users among our young people. Many of our natural bodybuilders do not have children yet. Others are young parents already raising a family. What will you do if your children, young boys or girls – even as young as 10 – begin using steroids? After all, it’s just a “choice.”
It will take more than just your personal commitment not to use steroids yourself to dissuade them. Your other behaviors matter too. You are either part of the problem or part of the solution. There are simply too many negative influences out there for your children to resist just because “mom” or “dad” was clean.
The author strongly recommends that readers visit the website for the Taylor Hooton Foundation to learn just how pervasive the problem of steroids is among our young people. You will be shocked.