Tag Archives: fears

Health fears over boys as young as 13 using steroids for ‘good looks’

Children’s commissioners call for schools to tackle views of body image distorted by social media

Teenage boy looking at social media


Children’s commissioners have called for teachers to fight body image issues perpetuated by social media Photograph: Voisin/Phanie/REX/Shutterstock

The children’s commissioners for England, Wales and Northern Ireland have expressed concern at the number of boys using anabolic steroids for cosmetic reasons.

The commissioners said they believed that social media was putting pressure on children to try to achieve what they believed was an ideal body shape.

Experts who work with users of image and performance enhancing drugs (IPEDs) have reported that boys as young as 13 are using steroids.

Social media is seen to pile pressure on children over their body shape and there is also a concern that it makes it easy for them to source IPEDs.

The children’s commissioner for England, Anne Longfield, said: “I’d be very concerned with any young person using steroids to enhance the way they look. The real solution is to tackle early on issues around body image and the desire of some young people on social media desperate to match celebrities’ images.

“Teaching children in PSHE (personal, social, health and economic) classes in school the resilience not to worry about how a celebrity looks or how their own friends think they look in photos would deter the feeling that risking their health to get such a look was worthwhile.”

Sally Holland, the children’s commissioner for Wales, said her office had co-produced a pack for secondary schools encouraging young people to challenge stereotypes about appearance.

“There is a consistent pressure on young people to look and behave in a certain way; a pressure that is often amplified and perpetuated by social media,” she said.

“We need all young people to know that there is no definition of ‘perfect’ and that individuality is to be celebrated.

“Outdated gender norms can often make young men feel like they need to be muscular. For boys and girls, it’s so important that schools and professionals working with children and young people support them to challenge these norms.”

Koulla Yiasouma, Northern Ireland commissioner for children and young people, said: “It’s important to educate young people on how they can keep fit and nourish their bodies in a healthy way.

“It’s also important that we build young people’s resilience so they can learn to navigate the ever-changing nature of social media”

The Guardian has revealed that up to 1 million people in the UK may be taking IPEDs, the majority for aesthetic rather than sporting reasons.

A particular concern among health officials is teenagers and young twenty-somethings using the drugs when their bodies are still developing. There are real worries they may suffer serious health problems in 10 or 20 years as a result.

Nick Hickmott, early intervention lead at the Young Addaction charity in Kent, said boys as young as 14 were asking for advice about steroids. “These are young people, often high-achievers, who are generally living a healthy lifestyle. They want to make quick improvements without being fully aware of the risks.”

Hickmott said those using steroids ranged from talented athletes who wanted to boost their performances to others who simply wanted a honed body to – in their eyes – look good during nights out or on the beach.

He said: “We’ve got all the pressures of social media saying: ‘this is what a young man should look like’. In films, in TV, everyone is ripped and young people think there can’t be much harm in it.

“These are not disenfranchised people from deprived backgrounds that we are used to working with. They are from the more affluent side of the tracks. We’re really worried about this. We think it’s a hidden epidemic.”

Health fears over boys as young as 13 using steroids for ‘good looks’

Children’s commissioners call for schools to tackle views of body image distorted by social media

Teenage boy looking at social media


Children’s commissioners have called for teachers to fight body image issues perpetuated by social media Photograph: Voisin/Phanie/REX/Shutterstock

The children’s commissioners for England, Wales and Northern Ireland have expressed concern at the number of boys using anabolic steroids for cosmetic reasons.

The commissioners said they believed that social media was putting pressure on children to try to achieve what they believed was an ideal body shape.

Experts who work with users of image and performance enhancing drugs (IPEDs) have reported that boys as young as 13 are using steroids.

Social media is seen to pile pressure on children over their body shape and there is also a concern that it makes it easy for them to source IPEDs.

The children’s commissioner for England, Anne Longfield, said: “I’d be very concerned with any young person using steroids to enhance the way they look. The real solution is to tackle early on issues around body image and the desire of some young people on social media desperate to match celebrities’ images.

“Teaching children in PSHE (personal, social, health and economic) classes in school the resilience not to worry about how a celebrity looks or how their own friends think they look in photos would deter the feeling that risking their health to get such a look was worthwhile.”

Sally Holland, the children’s commissioner for Wales, said her office had co-produced a pack for secondary schools encouraging young people to challenge stereotypes about appearance.

“There is a consistent pressure on young people to look and behave in a certain way; a pressure that is often amplified and perpetuated by social media,” she said.

“We need all young people to know that there is no definition of ‘perfect’ and that individuality is to be celebrated.

“Outdated gender norms can often make young men feel like they need to be muscular. For boys and girls, it’s so important that schools and professionals working with children and young people support them to challenge these norms.”

Koulla Yiasouma, Northern Ireland commissioner for children and young people, said: “It’s important to educate young people on how they can keep fit and nourish their bodies in a healthy way.

“It’s also important that we build young people’s resilience so they can learn to navigate the ever-changing nature of social media”

The Guardian has revealed that up to 1 million people in the UK may be taking IPEDs, the majority for aesthetic rather than sporting reasons.

A particular concern among health officials is teenagers and young twenty-somethings using the drugs when their bodies are still developing. There are real worries they may suffer serious health problems in 10 or 20 years as a result.

Nick Hickmott, early intervention lead at the Young Addaction charity in Kent, said boys as young as 14 were asking for advice about steroids. “These are young people, often high-achievers, who are generally living a healthy lifestyle. They want to make quick improvements without being fully aware of the risks.”

Hickmott said those using steroids ranged from talented athletes who wanted to boost their performances to others who simply wanted a honed body to – in their eyes – look good during nights out or on the beach.

He said: “We’ve got all the pressures of social media saying: ‘this is what a young man should look like’. In films, in TV, everyone is ripped and young people think there can’t be much harm in it.

“These are not disenfranchised people from deprived backgrounds that we are used to working with. They are from the more affluent side of the tracks. We’re really worried about this. We think it’s a hidden epidemic.”

Health fears over boys as young as 13 using steroids for ‘good looks’

Children’s commissioners call for schools to tackle views of body image distorted by social media

Teenage boy looking at social media


Children’s commissioners have called for teachers to fight body image issues perpetuated by social media Photograph: Voisin/Phanie/REX/Shutterstock

The children’s commissioners for England, Wales and Northern Ireland have expressed concern at the number of boys using anabolic steroids for cosmetic reasons.

The commissioners said they believed that social media was putting pressure on children to try to achieve what they believed was an ideal body shape.

Experts who work with users of image and performance enhancing drugs (IPEDs) have reported that boys as young as 13 are using steroids.

Social media is seen to pile pressure on children over their body shape and there is also a concern that it makes it easy for them to source IPEDs.

The children’s commissioner for England, Anne Longfield, said: “I’d be very concerned with any young person using steroids to enhance the way they look. The real solution is to tackle early on issues around body image and the desire of some young people on social media desperate to match celebrities’ images.

“Teaching children in PSHE (personal, social, health and economic) classes in school the resilience not to worry about how a celebrity looks or how their own friends think they look in photos would deter the feeling that risking their health to get such a look was worthwhile.”

Sally Holland, the children’s commissioner for Wales, said her office had co-produced a pack for secondary schools encouraging young people to challenge stereotypes about appearance.

“There is a consistent pressure on young people to look and behave in a certain way; a pressure that is often amplified and perpetuated by social media,” she said.

“We need all young people to know that there is no definition of ‘perfect’ and that individuality is to be celebrated.

“Outdated gender norms can often make young men feel like they need to be muscular. For boys and girls, it’s so important that schools and professionals working with children and young people support them to challenge these norms.”

Koulla Yiasouma, Northern Ireland commissioner for children and young people, said: “It’s important to educate young people on how they can keep fit and nourish their bodies in a healthy way.

“It’s also important that we build young people’s resilience so they can learn to navigate the ever-changing nature of social media”

The Guardian has revealed that up to 1 million people in the UK may be taking IPEDs, the majority for aesthetic rather than sporting reasons.

A particular concern among health officials is teenagers and young twenty-somethings using the drugs when their bodies are still developing. There are real worries they may suffer serious health problems in 10 or 20 years as a result.

Nick Hickmott, early intervention lead at the Young Addaction charity in Kent, said boys as young as 14 were asking for advice about steroids. “These are young people, often high-achievers, who are generally living a healthy lifestyle. They want to make quick improvements without being fully aware of the risks.”

Hickmott said those using steroids ranged from talented athletes who wanted to boost their performances to others who simply wanted a honed body to – in their eyes – look good during nights out or on the beach.

He said: “We’ve got all the pressures of social media saying: ‘this is what a young man should look like’. In films, in TV, everyone is ripped and young people think there can’t be much harm in it.

“These are not disenfranchised people from deprived backgrounds that we are used to working with. They are from the more affluent side of the tracks. We’re really worried about this. We think it’s a hidden epidemic.”

Health fears over boys as young as 13 using steroids for ‘good looks’

Children’s commissioners call for schools to tackle views of body image distorted by social media

Teenage boy looking at social media


Children’s commissioners have called for teachers to fight body image issues perpetuated by social media Photograph: Voisin/Phanie/REX/Shutterstock

The children’s commissioners for England, Wales and Northern Ireland have expressed concern at the number of boys using anabolic steroids for cosmetic reasons.

The commissioners said they believed that social media was putting pressure on children to try to achieve what they believed was an ideal body shape.

Experts who work with users of image and performance enhancing drugs (IPEDs) have reported that boys as young as 13 are using steroids.

Social media is seen to pile pressure on children over their body shape and there is also a concern that it makes it easy for them to source IPEDs.

The children’s commissioner for England, Anne Longfield, said: “I’d be very concerned with any young person using steroids to enhance the way they look. The real solution is to tackle early on issues around body image and the desire of some young people on social media desperate to match celebrities’ images.

“Teaching children in PSHE (personal, social, health and economic) classes in school the resilience not to worry about how a celebrity looks or how their own friends think they look in photos would deter the feeling that risking their health to get such a look was worthwhile.”

Sally Holland, the children’s commissioner for Wales, said her office had co-produced a pack for secondary schools encouraging young people to challenge stereotypes about appearance.

“There is a consistent pressure on young people to look and behave in a certain way; a pressure that is often amplified and perpetuated by social media,” she said.

“We need all young people to know that there is no definition of ‘perfect’ and that individuality is to be celebrated.

“Outdated gender norms can often make young men feel like they need to be muscular. For boys and girls, it’s so important that schools and professionals working with children and young people support them to challenge these norms.”

Koulla Yiasouma, Northern Ireland commissioner for children and young people, said: “It’s important to educate young people on how they can keep fit and nourish their bodies in a healthy way.

“It’s also important that we build young people’s resilience so they can learn to navigate the ever-changing nature of social media”

The Guardian has revealed that up to 1 million people in the UK may be taking IPEDs, the majority for aesthetic rather than sporting reasons.

A particular concern among health officials is teenagers and young twenty-somethings using the drugs when their bodies are still developing. There are real worries they may suffer serious health problems in 10 or 20 years as a result.

Nick Hickmott, early intervention lead at the Young Addaction charity in Kent, said boys as young as 14 were asking for advice about steroids. “These are young people, often high-achievers, who are generally living a healthy lifestyle. They want to make quick improvements without being fully aware of the risks.”

Hickmott said those using steroids ranged from talented athletes who wanted to boost their performances to others who simply wanted a honed body to – in their eyes – look good during nights out or on the beach.

He said: “We’ve got all the pressures of social media saying: ‘this is what a young man should look like’. In films, in TV, everyone is ripped and young people think there can’t be much harm in it.

“These are not disenfranchised people from deprived backgrounds that we are used to working with. They are from the more affluent side of the tracks. We’re really worried about this. We think it’s a hidden epidemic.”

Health fears over boys as young as 13 using steroids for ‘good looks’

Children’s commissioners call for schools to tackle views of body image distorted by social media

Teenage boy looking at social media


Children’s commissioners have called for teachers to fight body image issues perpetuated by social media Photograph: Voisin/Phanie/REX/Shutterstock

The children’s commissioners for England, Wales and Northern Ireland have expressed concern at the number of boys using anabolic steroids for cosmetic reasons.

The commissioners said they believed that social media was putting pressure on children to try to achieve what they believed was an ideal body shape.

Experts who work with users of image and performance enhancing drugs (IPEDs) have reported that boys as young as 13 are using steroids.

Social media is seen to pile pressure on children over their body shape and there is also a concern that it makes it easy for them to source IPEDs.

The children’s commissioner for England, Anne Longfield, said: “I’d be very concerned with any young person using steroids to enhance the way they look. The real solution is to tackle early on issues around body image and the desire of some young people on social media desperate to match celebrities’ images.

“Teaching children in PSHE (personal, social, health and economic) classes in school the resilience not to worry about how a celebrity looks or how their own friends think they look in photos would deter the feeling that risking their health to get such a look was worthwhile.”

Sally Holland, the children’s commissioner for Wales, said her office had co-produced a pack for secondary schools encouraging young people to challenge stereotypes about appearance.

“There is a consistent pressure on young people to look and behave in a certain way; a pressure that is often amplified and perpetuated by social media,” she said.

“We need all young people to know that there is no definition of ‘perfect’ and that individuality is to be celebrated.

“Outdated gender norms can often make young men feel like they need to be muscular. For boys and girls, it’s so important that schools and professionals working with children and young people support them to challenge these norms.”

Koulla Yiasouma, Northern Ireland commissioner for children and young people, said: “It’s important to educate young people on how they can keep fit and nourish their bodies in a healthy way.

“It’s also important that we build young people’s resilience so they can learn to navigate the ever-changing nature of social media”

The Guardian has revealed that up to 1 million people in the UK may be taking IPEDs, the majority for aesthetic rather than sporting reasons.

A particular concern among health officials is teenagers and young twenty-somethings using the drugs when their bodies are still developing. There are real worries they may suffer serious health problems in 10 or 20 years as a result.

Nick Hickmott, early intervention lead at the Young Addaction charity in Kent, said boys as young as 14 were asking for advice about steroids. “These are young people, often high-achievers, who are generally living a healthy lifestyle. They want to make quick improvements without being fully aware of the risks.”

Hickmott said those using steroids ranged from talented athletes who wanted to boost their performances to others who simply wanted a honed body to – in their eyes – look good during nights out or on the beach.

He said: “We’ve got all the pressures of social media saying: ‘this is what a young man should look like’. In films, in TV, everyone is ripped and young people think there can’t be much harm in it.

“These are not disenfranchised people from deprived backgrounds that we are used to working with. They are from the more affluent side of the tracks. We’re really worried about this. We think it’s a hidden epidemic.”

Health fears over boys as young as 13 using steroids for ‘good looks’

Children’s commissioners call for schools to tackle views of body image distorted by social media

Teenage boy looking at social media


Children’s commissioners have called for teachers to fight body image issues perpetuated by social media Photograph: Voisin/Phanie/REX/Shutterstock

The children’s commissioners for England, Wales and Northern Ireland have expressed concern at the number of boys using anabolic steroids for cosmetic reasons.

The commissioners said they believed that social media was putting pressure on children to try to achieve what they believed was an ideal body shape.

Experts who work with users of image and performance enhancing drugs (IPEDs) have reported that boys as young as 13 are using steroids.

Social media is seen to pile pressure on children over their body shape and there is also a concern that it makes it easy for them to source IPEDs.

The children’s commissioner for England, Anne Longfield, said: “I’d be very concerned with any young person using steroids to enhance the way they look. The real solution is to tackle early on issues around body image and the desire of some young people on social media desperate to match celebrities’ images.

“Teaching children in PSHE (personal, social, health and economic) classes in school the resilience not to worry about how a celebrity looks or how their own friends think they look in photos would deter the feeling that risking their health to get such a look was worthwhile.”

Sally Holland, the children’s commissioner for Wales, said her office had co-produced a pack for secondary schools encouraging young people to challenge stereotypes about appearance.

“There is a consistent pressure on young people to look and behave in a certain way; a pressure that is often amplified and perpetuated by social media,” she said.

“We need all young people to know that there is no definition of ‘perfect’ and that individuality is to be celebrated.

“Outdated gender norms can often make young men feel like they need to be muscular. For boys and girls, it’s so important that schools and professionals working with children and young people support them to challenge these norms.”

Koulla Yiasouma, Northern Ireland commissioner for children and young people, said: “It’s important to educate young people on how they can keep fit and nourish their bodies in a healthy way.

“It’s also important that we build young people’s resilience so they can learn to navigate the ever-changing nature of social media”

The Guardian has revealed that up to 1 million people in the UK may be taking IPEDs, the majority for aesthetic rather than sporting reasons.

A particular concern among health officials is teenagers and young twenty-somethings using the drugs when their bodies are still developing. There are real worries they may suffer serious health problems in 10 or 20 years as a result.

Nick Hickmott, early intervention lead at the Young Addaction charity in Kent, said boys as young as 14 were asking for advice about steroids. “These are young people, often high-achievers, who are generally living a healthy lifestyle. They want to make quick improvements without being fully aware of the risks.”

Hickmott said those using steroids ranged from talented athletes who wanted to boost their performances to others who simply wanted a honed body to – in their eyes – look good during nights out or on the beach.

He said: “We’ve got all the pressures of social media saying: ‘this is what a young man should look like’. In films, in TV, everyone is ripped and young people think there can’t be much harm in it.

“These are not disenfranchised people from deprived backgrounds that we are used to working with. They are from the more affluent side of the tracks. We’re really worried about this. We think it’s a hidden epidemic.”

Health fears over boys as young as 13 using steroids for ‘good looks’

Children’s commissioners call for schools to tackle views of body image distorted by social media

Teenage boy looking at social media


Children’s commissioners have called for teachers to fight body image issues perpetuated by social media Photograph: Voisin/Phanie/REX/Shutterstock

The children’s commissioners for England, Wales and Northern Ireland have expressed concern at the number of boys using anabolic steroids for cosmetic reasons.

The commissioners said they believed that social media was putting pressure on children to try to achieve what they believed was an ideal body shape.

Experts who work with users of image and performance enhancing drugs (IPEDs) have reported that boys as young as 13 are using steroids.

Social media is seen to pile pressure on children over their body shape and there is also a concern that it makes it easy for them to source IPEDs.

The children’s commissioner for England, Anne Longfield, said: “I’d be very concerned with any young person using steroids to enhance the way they look. The real solution is to tackle early on issues around body image and the desire of some young people on social media desperate to match celebrities’ images.

“Teaching children in PSHE (personal, social, health and economic) classes in school the resilience not to worry about how a celebrity looks or how their own friends think they look in photos would deter the feeling that risking their health to get such a look was worthwhile.”

Sally Holland, the children’s commissioner for Wales, said her office had co-produced a pack for secondary schools encouraging young people to challenge stereotypes about appearance.

“There is a consistent pressure on young people to look and behave in a certain way; a pressure that is often amplified and perpetuated by social media,” she said.

“We need all young people to know that there is no definition of ‘perfect’ and that individuality is to be celebrated.

“Outdated gender norms can often make young men feel like they need to be muscular. For boys and girls, it’s so important that schools and professionals working with children and young people support them to challenge these norms.”

Koulla Yiasouma, Northern Ireland commissioner for children and young people, said: “It’s important to educate young people on how they can keep fit and nourish their bodies in a healthy way.

“It’s also important that we build young people’s resilience so they can learn to navigate the ever-changing nature of social media”

The Guardian has revealed that up to 1 million people in the UK may be taking IPEDs, the majority for aesthetic rather than sporting reasons.

A particular concern among health officials is teenagers and young twenty-somethings using the drugs when their bodies are still developing. There are real worries they may suffer serious health problems in 10 or 20 years as a result.

Nick Hickmott, early intervention lead at the Young Addaction charity in Kent, said boys as young as 14 were asking for advice about steroids. “These are young people, often high-achievers, who are generally living a healthy lifestyle. They want to make quick improvements without being fully aware of the risks.”

Hickmott said those using steroids ranged from talented athletes who wanted to boost their performances to others who simply wanted a honed body to – in their eyes – look good during nights out or on the beach.

He said: “We’ve got all the pressures of social media saying: ‘this is what a young man should look like’. In films, in TV, everyone is ripped and young people think there can’t be much harm in it.

“These are not disenfranchised people from deprived backgrounds that we are used to working with. They are from the more affluent side of the tracks. We’re really worried about this. We think it’s a hidden epidemic.”

Health fears over boys as young as 13 using steroids for ‘good looks’

Children’s commissioners call for schools to tackle views of body image distorted by social media

Teenage boy looking at social media


Children’s commissioners have called for teachers to fight body image issues perpetuated by social media Photograph: Voisin/Phanie/REX/Shutterstock

The children’s commissioners for England, Wales and Northern Ireland have expressed concern at the number of boys using anabolic steroids for cosmetic reasons.

The commissioners said they believed that social media was putting pressure on children to try to achieve what they believed was an ideal body shape.

Experts who work with users of image and performance enhancing drugs (IPEDs) have reported that boys as young as 13 are using steroids.

Social media is seen to pile pressure on children over their body shape and there is also a concern that it makes it easy for them to source IPEDs.

The children’s commissioner for England, Anne Longfield, said: “I’d be very concerned with any young person using steroids to enhance the way they look. The real solution is to tackle early on issues around body image and the desire of some young people on social media desperate to match celebrities’ images.

“Teaching children in PSHE (personal, social, health and economic) classes in school the resilience not to worry about how a celebrity looks or how their own friends think they look in photos would deter the feeling that risking their health to get such a look was worthwhile.”

Sally Holland, the children’s commissioner for Wales, said her office had co-produced a pack for secondary schools encouraging young people to challenge stereotypes about appearance.

“There is a consistent pressure on young people to look and behave in a certain way; a pressure that is often amplified and perpetuated by social media,” she said.

“We need all young people to know that there is no definition of ‘perfect’ and that individuality is to be celebrated.

“Outdated gender norms can often make young men feel like they need to be muscular. For boys and girls, it’s so important that schools and professionals working with children and young people support them to challenge these norms.”

Koulla Yiasouma, Northern Ireland commissioner for children and young people, said: “It’s important to educate young people on how they can keep fit and nourish their bodies in a healthy way.

“It’s also important that we build young people’s resilience so they can learn to navigate the ever-changing nature of social media”

The Guardian has revealed that up to 1 million people in the UK may be taking IPEDs, the majority for aesthetic rather than sporting reasons.

A particular concern among health officials is teenagers and young twenty-somethings using the drugs when their bodies are still developing. There are real worries they may suffer serious health problems in 10 or 20 years as a result.

Nick Hickmott, early intervention lead at the Young Addaction charity in Kent, said boys as young as 14 were asking for advice about steroids. “These are young people, often high-achievers, who are generally living a healthy lifestyle. They want to make quick improvements without being fully aware of the risks.”

Hickmott said those using steroids ranged from talented athletes who wanted to boost their performances to others who simply wanted a honed body to – in their eyes – look good during nights out or on the beach.

He said: “We’ve got all the pressures of social media saying: ‘this is what a young man should look like’. In films, in TV, everyone is ripped and young people think there can’t be much harm in it.

“These are not disenfranchised people from deprived backgrounds that we are used to working with. They are from the more affluent side of the tracks. We’re really worried about this. We think it’s a hidden epidemic.”

Health fears over boys as young as 13 using steroids for ‘good looks’

Children’s commissioners call for schools to tackle views of body image distorted by social media

Teenage boy looking at social media


Children’s commissioners have called for teachers to fight body image issues perpetuated by social media Photograph: Voisin/Phanie/REX/Shutterstock

The children’s commissioners for England, Wales and Northern Ireland have expressed concern at the number of boys using anabolic steroids for cosmetic reasons.

The commissioners said they believed that social media was putting pressure on children to try to achieve what they believed was an ideal body shape.

Experts who work with users of image and performance enhancing drugs (IPEDs) have reported that boys as young as 13 are using steroids.

Social media is seen to pile pressure on children over their body shape and there is also a concern that it makes it easy for them to source IPEDs.

The children’s commissioner for England, Anne Longfield, said: “I’d be very concerned with any young person using steroids to enhance the way they look. The real solution is to tackle early on issues around body image and the desire of some young people on social media desperate to match celebrities’ images.

“Teaching children in PSHE (personal, social, health and economic) classes in school the resilience not to worry about how a celebrity looks or how their own friends think they look in photos would deter the feeling that risking their health to get such a look was worthwhile.”

Sally Holland, the children’s commissioner for Wales, said her office had co-produced a pack for secondary schools encouraging young people to challenge stereotypes about appearance.

“There is a consistent pressure on young people to look and behave in a certain way; a pressure that is often amplified and perpetuated by social media,” she said.

“We need all young people to know that there is no definition of ‘perfect’ and that individuality is to be celebrated.

“Outdated gender norms can often make young men feel like they need to be muscular. For boys and girls, it’s so important that schools and professionals working with children and young people support them to challenge these norms.”

Koulla Yiasouma, Northern Ireland commissioner for children and young people, said: “It’s important to educate young people on how they can keep fit and nourish their bodies in a healthy way.

“It’s also important that we build young people’s resilience so they can learn to navigate the ever-changing nature of social media”

The Guardian has revealed that up to 1 million people in the UK may be taking IPEDs, the majority for aesthetic rather than sporting reasons.

A particular concern among health officials is teenagers and young twenty-somethings using the drugs when their bodies are still developing. There are real worries they may suffer serious health problems in 10 or 20 years as a result.

Nick Hickmott, early intervention lead at the Young Addaction charity in Kent, said boys as young as 14 were asking for advice about steroids. “These are young people, often high-achievers, who are generally living a healthy lifestyle. They want to make quick improvements without being fully aware of the risks.”

Hickmott said those using steroids ranged from talented athletes who wanted to boost their performances to others who simply wanted a honed body to – in their eyes – look good during nights out or on the beach.

He said: “We’ve got all the pressures of social media saying: ‘this is what a young man should look like’. In films, in TV, everyone is ripped and young people think there can’t be much harm in it.

“These are not disenfranchised people from deprived backgrounds that we are used to working with. They are from the more affluent side of the tracks. We’re really worried about this. We think it’s a hidden epidemic.”

Health fears over boys as young as 13 using steroids for ‘good looks’

Children’s commissioners call for schools to tackle views of body image distorted by social media

Teenage boy looking at social media


Children’s commissioners have called for teachers to fight body image issues perpetuated by social media Photograph: Voisin/Phanie/REX/Shutterstock

The children’s commissioners for England, Wales and Northern Ireland have expressed concern at the number of boys using anabolic steroids for cosmetic reasons.

The commissioners said they believed that social media was putting pressure on children to try to achieve what they believed was an ideal body shape.

Experts who work with users of image and performance enhancing drugs (IPEDs) have reported that boys as young as 13 are using steroids.

Social media is seen to pile pressure on children over their body shape and there is also a concern that it makes it easy for them to source IPEDs.

The children’s commissioner for England, Anne Longfield, said: “I’d be very concerned with any young person using steroids to enhance the way they look. The real solution is to tackle early on issues around body image and the desire of some young people on social media desperate to match celebrities’ images.

“Teaching children in PSHE (personal, social, health and economic) classes in school the resilience not to worry about how a celebrity looks or how their own friends think they look in photos would deter the feeling that risking their health to get such a look was worthwhile.”

Sally Holland, the children’s commissioner for Wales, said her office had co-produced a pack for secondary schools encouraging young people to challenge stereotypes about appearance.

“There is a consistent pressure on young people to look and behave in a certain way; a pressure that is often amplified and perpetuated by social media,” she said.

“We need all young people to know that there is no definition of ‘perfect’ and that individuality is to be celebrated.

“Outdated gender norms can often make young men feel like they need to be muscular. For boys and girls, it’s so important that schools and professionals working with children and young people support them to challenge these norms.”

Koulla Yiasouma, Northern Ireland commissioner for children and young people, said: “It’s important to educate young people on how they can keep fit and nourish their bodies in a healthy way.

“It’s also important that we build young people’s resilience so they can learn to navigate the ever-changing nature of social media”

The Guardian has revealed that up to 1 million people in the UK may be taking IPEDs, the majority for aesthetic rather than sporting reasons.

A particular concern among health officials is teenagers and young twenty-somethings using the drugs when their bodies are still developing. There are real worries they may suffer serious health problems in 10 or 20 years as a result.

Nick Hickmott, early intervention lead at the Young Addaction charity in Kent, said boys as young as 14 were asking for advice about steroids. “These are young people, often high-achievers, who are generally living a healthy lifestyle. They want to make quick improvements without being fully aware of the risks.”

Hickmott said those using steroids ranged from talented athletes who wanted to boost their performances to others who simply wanted a honed body to – in their eyes – look good during nights out or on the beach.

He said: “We’ve got all the pressures of social media saying: ‘this is what a young man should look like’. In films, in TV, everyone is ripped and young people think there can’t be much harm in it.

“These are not disenfranchised people from deprived backgrounds that we are used to working with. They are from the more affluent side of the tracks. We’re really worried about this. We think it’s a hidden epidemic.”