Health Behaviors Associated With Use of Body Building, Weight Loss, and Performance Enhancing Supplements

Tzu Cheg Kao*, Patricia A. Deuster, Daniel Burnett, Mark Stephens

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations


Purpose: To identify health-related behaviors associated with potentially harmful dietary supplements (DS) - body building (BB), weight loss (WL) and performance enhancing (PE), explore common reasons and sources of information for DS use. Methods: Based on the 2005 Survey of 16,146 U.S. military personnel, BB users were dichotomized as yes (regular use - taking any supplement of BB at least once a week in past 12 months) or no; similarly defined for WL and PE. Weighted logistic regression models are used. Results: BB, WL and PE were used by 19.4%, 17.0%, and 8.0% of participants, respectively. Significantly more users were overweight or obese: BMI ≥25 (vs. BMI<25); heavy drinkers (vs. abstainers); and users of taking steroids in their lifetime (vs. not). Most common reasons of BB, WL, and PE users wanted to increase muscle mass, lose weight, and improve physical performance (BB: 45.8%, WL: 54.8%, PE: 38.5%). Fewer than 30% discussed dietary supplements use with their healthcare providers. The leading source of dietary supplements information (BB: 27.8%, WL: 23.6%, PE: 30.0%) was magazines. Conclusions: The dietary supplements: BB, WL and PE were used by significant proportions of service members, and associated with risk-taking behaviors that may affect overall military readiness and public health.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)331-339
Number of pages9
JournalAnnals of Epidemiology
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Binary Logistic Regression
  • Cross-Sectional Study
  • Dietary Supplements
  • Life Style
  • Survey


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