Look in the gym locker of any teenage boy interested in sports or fitness in general and you're almost guaranteed to find some sort of performance enhancing supplement. Kids are taking anything from creatine to prohormones and in some cases over the counter "designer" steroids. Recent university studies that address the correlation between supplement use and the perceived risk of steroid use find that kids that take supplements to enhance performance are much more likely to use steroids and other illicit substances later in life. 

Considering the casual way to society looks at these over the counter supplements it isn't difficult to see where young men are getting the wrong idea about the risks they pose to their bodies. The supplement industry is probably one of the most under regulated sectors controlled by the FDA. When a new supplement is released it requires no FDA approval and it must be singled out and tested in order to be banned from the shelves of your favorite vitamin shop. 

These unregulated supplements are pushed at kids from every angle. Supplement ads are notorious for making wild claims about their effectiveness and seem engineered to take advantage of the naivety of student athletes. Kids grow up under tremendous pressure to perform athletically and otherwise and its not uncommon for coaches and even parents to encourage student athletes to consume supplements. The "win at all costs" mentality that sets the tone for our kids' athletics may also be putting their bodies' at risk. Beyond the immediate danger that some supplements may pose, the real danger for kids is the acceptance of an attitude that encourages them down a path towards steroids.

What it boils down to is the increasingly body image obsessed social climate of America. The rise of the bigger bulkier man's desirability has been well documented and young men are feeling more and more pressure to fit into a GI Joe shaped mold. For better or worse America is the champion of the individual and we all want to be the best, even it means cheating to get there.