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Minerva Medicolegale 2017 September;137(3):57-64

DOI: 10.23736/S0026-4849.17.01767-9


language: Italian

Knowledge and perceptions on the use of performance-enhancing substances: a survey of gym goers

Enrico DE DOMINICIS 1 , Andrea CAMMARANO 2, Roberta SCHIATTARELLA 3, Maria R. ESPOSITO 2, Massimo MAURICI 2, Gian L. MARELLA 4, Luigi T. MARSELLA 2

1 Istituto di Medicina Legale, Università degli Studi di Roma “Tor Vergata”, Rome, Italy; 2 Dipartimento di Biomedicina e Prevenzione, Università degli Studi di Roma “Tor Vergata”, Rome, Italy; 3 AORN Cardarelli, Naples, Italy; 4 Dipartimento di Medicina Sperimentale e Chirurgia, Università degli Studi di Roma “Tor Vergata”, Rome, Italy


BACKGROUND: The use of performance-enhancing substances is not limited to professional athletes but can also be found in gyms amongst young amateur sports people. There is very little evidence in favour of taking such substances, and there are certainly health-related risks. This study aims to investigate awareness of the risks associated with energy-enhancing substances.
METHODS: This is a cross-sectional study made of a self-administered questionnaire handed out to amateur athletes in gyms and fitness centers in Naples and its province.
RESULTS: 159 people took part in the study; 63.3% confirmed their use of various types of substance, including sports supplements and pharmaceutical products. We see the emergence of a clear pattern of beliefs in the positive effects of taking such substances. It was also possible to ascertain a good level of awareness of the risks associated with the taking of performance-enhancing substances.
CONCLUSIONS: Sportsmen who welcome the idea of improving their performance with “external assistance” is on the increase. A better understanding of the problems associated with the taking of ergogenic substances requires effective measures aimed at preventing abuse above all among young people, via educational campaigns which promote a healthy life style.

KEY WORDS: Anabolic agents - Steroids - Dietary supplements - Performance-enhancing substances - Doping in sports

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