Urban youths ignore risks, use health supplements

Urban youths ignore risks, use health supplements

At least 78 per cent teenagers in urban India take one dietary supplement per day, according to the results of a survey by Assocham Social Development Foundation (ASDF). Teenagers take the supplements despite knowing the risks, such as shorter life span and other health problems, claims the survey.

The practice is common in Delhi and Mumbai, followed by Chandigarh, Hyderabad and Ahmedabad.
The survey also found a high level of dietary supplement consumption in Haryana. The supplements are in the form of pills, energy drinks, steroids and high-protein products.

At least 85 per cent school and college athletes said their coaches and fitness trainers encouraged them to take supplements — similar to steroids — to perform well. They said the drugs are available at common chemists.

The findings of the survey are shocking, say doctors. Youths tend to consume any product that promises to boost energy and appearance even at the cost of developing side effects.
Cash incentives and chances of college admissions through sports quota also lure youths to gamble with their health.

The survey was done in Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Bangalore, Chennai, Hyderabad, Ahemdabad, Chandigarh, among others. It is based on interactions with 2,500 people — male and female — in the age group of 14 to 30 years.

The survey also found that use of steroids increased with age, especially among boys, with 45 per cent of Class 12 boys using steroids. At least 47 per cent respondents said they used supplements like protein powder, creatine and amino acid to gain body mass, while 55 per cent said they used supplements such as fat burners, high-energy drinks and caffeine pills to lose weight.

Some people also took sports drinks (86 per cent), vitamin and mineral tablets (75 per cent), energy drink s(65 per cent), herbal supplements (25 per cent) and high-protein milk supplements (15 per cent).

The side effects include abdominal pain, nausea, loose stools, increase in weight due to retention of water and muscle cramps.

Damage to kidney and enlargement of heart muscle have been observed in teenagers. Some females may become masculine, with excessive hair growth.

A majority of respondents claimed to have spent Rs 2,000 to Rs 4,000 per month on dietary supplements.

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