The Prevalence of Anabolic Androgenic Steroid Misuse and its Associated Factors among Bodybuilders in Shiraz, Iran

Document Type : Original Article


Nutrition Research Center, Department of Clinical Nutrition, School of Nutrition and Food Sciences, Shiraz University of Medical Sciences, Shiraz, Iran


Background: Anabolic androgenic steroids (AAS) are synthetic forms of testosterone that can be misused by bodybuilders to increase their athletic performance. This study was conducted to determine the prevalence and characteristics of AAS use among male bodybuilders in Shiraz, Iran.
Methods: This cross-sectional study was conducted on 246 men attending bodybuilding clubs in Shiraz, southern Iran using multistage cluster sampling method. To collect the data, self-administered questionnaire, containing demographic questions, type of AAS used, purpose of consumption, and the recommender of AAS use were completed. Participant’s anthropometric indices were assessed using standard methods, and body composition values were measured using bioelectric impedance analysis.
Results: The mean age of participants was 29.09±7.76 years, and the prevalence of AAS use was 39%. Significant difference was observed in distributions of participants by bodybuilding history between AAS users and non-users. A significant higher weight, body mass index, fat free mass, total body water and lower fat mass were observed among AAS users compared with non-users. The main reason for using AAS was muscle mass increase (75.1%), and half of the participants started AAS with their trainer's recommendation (54.1%).
Conclusion: AAS misuse was prevalent amongst male bodybuilders and its consumption seems to be associated with some desirable body composition changes (higher fat free mass and lower fat mass).