Ergogenic supplements and health risk behaviors

M. B. Stephens*, C. Olsen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVE: Our goals were to determine the prevalence of ergogenic supplement use in a young healthy population and to examine the extent to which supplement use is associated with specific health risk behaviors. STUDY DESIGN: We performed a cross-sectional survey. POPULATION: Individuals entering military service for enlisted training were included. OUTCOMES MEASURED: We recorded previous use of any nutritional ergogenic supplements and self-reported health risk behaviors. RESULTS: Of 550 eligible participants, 499 completed the survey (91% response rate). Individuals who used ergogenic supplements were more likely to drink alcohol (adjusted odds ratio [AOR]=1.8; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.1-3.1), more likely to drink heavily (AOR=2.4; 95% CI, 1.5-3.9), more likely to ride in a vehicle with someone who had been drinking (AOR=2.2; 95% CI, 1.3-3.6), more likely to drive after drinking (AOR=2.4; 95% CI, 1.3-4.4), and more likely to have been in a physical fight (AOR=1.9; 95% CI, 1.0-3.5), compared with those who had not used supplements. Men were more likely to use supplements than women (P <.001). There were no differences in patterns of supplement use according to age or body mass index. CONCLUSIONS: Our study indicates an association between individuals who use ergogenic nutritional supplements and specific health risk behaviors. This represents an important opportunity for preventive counseling.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)696-699
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Family Practice
Issue number8
StatePublished - 2001
Externally publishedYes


  • Ergogenic nutritional supplements [non-MESH]
  • Preventive medicine
  • Risk-taking


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