Fitness industry commits to education after third of gym users 'aware' of dangerous drug use at their gym
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Fitness industry commits to education after third of gym users 'aware' of dangerous drug use at their gym

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A survey of UK gym users has found that a third (34 per cent) of gym users said they were aware of other members at their gym taking image and performance enhancing drugs (IPEDs) and steroids.

The survey of 361 people, conducted as part of UK Anti-Doping's (UKAD) Clean Sport Week also shows that nearly a sixth (14 per cent) knew someone suffering from the side effects of IPED use.

Around the same number of respondents – 14 per cent – confirmed they had taken an IPED at some point, with a quarter of that number (27 per cent) currently still using.

A small number of respondents (5 per cent) in the survey reported that they had been advised to use IPEDs by personal trainers or gym staff.

As a result of the survey, UKAD has now secured a commitment from the fitness industry for a new education programme, designed to tackle the use of dangerous IPEDs. The initiative looks to protect gym users and highlight the risks of taking anabolic steroids and other dangerous image and performance enhancing drugs (IPEDs).

UKAD has partnered with not-for-profit health body ukactive and the Chartered Institute for the Management of Sport and Physical Activity (CIMSPA) to improve training and education in the industry in order to raise awareness of the dangers of IPEDs among consumers.

The bodies have agreed to work together to develop educational support, such as training and resources, for both the workforce and customers.

UKAD chief executive Nicole Sapstead said: “The fitness and gym industry has reacted positively to these findings, and recognises the role it can play, in working with us to keep people safe.

“Taking anabolic steroids and IPEDs without a prescription is dangerous and it is vital that both gym users and staff have access to a proper education programme to clarify the risks.

“It is important that this issue is discussed, which is why raising awareness about IPED use will be at the heart of our activity in Clean Sport Week this year.”

The Clean Sport Week is taking part this week and runs from 20 to 26 May.

Ukactive's acting CEO Huw Edwards added: “As the fitness industry has grown, the UK’s gyms have changed dramatically from the weights-room stereotype of yesteryear, now offering a cleaner and more welcoming environment for all.

“However, these survey findings show how important it is that we shine a light on the dangers of IPED use in all corners of the fitness sector so that no one is unaware of the dangers to their body.

“Working with UKAD and the Chartered Institute for the Management of Sport and Physical Activity, together we can improve education so that people know the risks and so staff are able to offer the best possible guidance and information on IPEDs.”

IPED FACTS

• The most well-known IPEDs are anabolic steroids such as testosterone, nandrolone and stanozolol, which are frequently injected.

• Regularly taking anabolic steroids can lead to physical and psychological changes in both men and women, as well as potentially dangerous medical conditions such as heart attack, stroke, liver or kidney failure, high blood pressure and blood clots.

• Anabolic steroids are class C drugs which can only be sold by pharmacists with a prescription. It is not illegal to have anabolic steroids for personal use.

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A survey of UK gym users has found that a third (34 per cent) of gym users said they were aware of other members at their gym taking image and performance enhancing drugs (IPEDs) and steroids.
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