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Use of Growth Hormone Surges Among U.S. Teens

Many young people are ordering dubious, hazardous products off of the Internet

WEDNESDAY, July 23, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- The percentage of teens who admit to using synthetic human growth hormone (hGH) jumped to 11 percent in 2013 -- more than double the 5 percent figure in 2012, according to a new survey from the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids.

In order to track the use of hGH and other performance-enhancing substances, the researchers surveyed more than 3,700 high school students. They also questioned 750 parents during in-home interviews.

Although gender did not significantly affect use of synthetic hGH, the researchers found race and ethnicity did play a role. The researchers found that 15 percent of black teens and 13 percent of Hispanics said they used the substance at least once, compared to 9 percent of white teens. There was also a strong link between use of hGH and steroids. Steroid use among teens also rose, from 5 percent in 2009 to 7 percent in 2013.

Using synthetic hGH and other performance-enhancing substances and products poses serious health risks, the study authors warned. There is a largely unregulated marketplace, they noted, involving a variety of products promising to boost muscle mass, athletic performance, and physical appearance.

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