Female teen steroid use not limited to athletes

June 5, 2007

Researchers from the Division of Health Promotion & Sports Medicine at Oregon Health & Science University have found steroid use among teen girls is not limited to athletes and often goes hand in hand with other unhealthy choices, including smoking and taking diet pills. The study will be published in the June issue of Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, a JAMA/Archives journal.

Diane Elliot, M.D., professor of medicine (health promotion and sports medicine), OHSU School of Medicine, and colleagues analyzed findings from the Center for Disease Control’s Youth Risk Behavior Survey of 7,544 ninth- through 12th-grade girls from around the country. The questionnaire asked about sports participation, anabolic steroid and drug use, and other illegal or unhealthy behaviors. Approximately 5 percent of participants reported prior or ongoing anabolic steroid use.

In addition to greater substance use, young female steroid users were more likely to have had sexual intercourse before age 13; have been pregnant; drink and drive or have ridden with a drinking driver; carry a weapon; have been in a fight on school property; have feelings of sadness or hopelessness almost every day for at least two weeks; and have attempted suicide. Those reporting anabolic steroid use were less likely to participate in team athletics.

Overall, more than two-thirds of those surveyed reported trying to change their weight. Girls who used steroids were more likely try extreme weight-loss techniques, such as vomiting and laxative use.

Adolescent girls reporting anabolic steroid use had significantly more other health-harming behaviors, Elliot explained, “They were much more likely to use other unhealthy substances, including cigarettes, alcohol, marijuana and cocaine.”

“Across all grades, these seem to be troubled adolescents with co-occurring health-compromising activities in the domains of substance use, sexual behavior, violence and mental health,” Elliot said. “Anabolic steroid use is a marker for high-risk girls. High-risk young women have received less attention than young men, perhaps reflecting that their actions are less socially, albeit more personally, destructive. Further study is needed to develop effective interventions for these young women.”

Source: Oregon Health & Science University

Explore further: Intersex—seeking the beauty in difference

Related Stories

Intersex—seeking the beauty in difference

October 4, 2016

At 13 years old, Sean Saifa Wall was admitted to hospital with pain in his groin. He says that he was given very little information about what might be causing it, and doctors didn't discuss different options for treatment ...

Steroid use much higher among gay and bi teen boys

February 3, 2014

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

Spines of boys and girls differ at birth

July 24, 2015

Looking at measurements of the vertebrae - the series of small bones that make up the spinal column - in newborn children, investigators at Children's Hospital Los Angeles found that differences between the sexes are present ...

You can train your body into thinking it's had medicine

February 9, 2016

Marette Flies was 11 when her immune system turned against her. A cheerful student from Minneapolis, Minnesota, she had curly brown hair and a pale, moon-shaped face, and she loved playing trumpet in her high-school band. ...

Recommended for you

Study shows blood products unaffected by drone trips

December 7, 2016

In what is believed to be the first proof-of-concept study of its kind, Johns Hopkins researchers have determined that large bags of blood products, such as those transfused into patients every day, can maintain temperature ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.