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Cadernos de Saúde Pública

Print version ISSN 0102-311XOn-line version ISSN 1678-4464

Abstract

IRIART, Jorge Alberto Bernstein  and  ANDRADE, Tarcísio Matos de. Body-building, steroid use, and risk perception among young body-builders from a low-income neighborhood in the city of Salvador, Bahia State, Brazil. Cad. Saúde Pública [online]. 2002, vol.18, n.5, pp.1379-1387. ISSN 0102-311X.  http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0102-311X2002000500031.

Recent studies in different countries have shown an increase in anabolic steroid consumption among young people and the harm caused by indiscriminate use. In Brazil, research on steroid abuse is scarce. The present study examines the risk perception of health problems associated with anabolic steroid consumption among young working-class adults engaged in body-building practices in a poor neighborhood in the city of Salvador, Bahia. The methodology involved an anthropological approach based on qualitative research techniques consisting of ethnography, in-depth interviews, and a focus group with steroid users. The data describe the most common substances consumed and highlight the lack of information among interviewees concerning potential related health hazards, showing that for many steroid consumers the quest for muscle-mass development to achieve an idealized body supersedes the risk of harmful side effects. The results indicate the need for culturally sensitive measures to prevent steroid abuse among youth.

Keywords : Substance Abuse; Anabolic Steroids; Exercise; Risk Factors; Anthropology.

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