n International SportMed Journal - The prevalence and determinants of anabolic steroid use among fitness centre attendees in Lebanon : original research

Volume 15, Issue 4
  • ISSN : 1528-3356



Non-medical anabolic steroid (AS) use in non-professional athletes is an increasingly recognized public health problem in Europe and the United States but poorly studied in the Middle East. The aim of this study is to assess the prevalence and determinants of anabolic steroid use amongst adult fitness centre attendees in the Greater Beirut area, Lebanon. A cross-sectional study design was adopted. The targeted population included all gym attendees in Greater Beirut aged 18 or above. Professional or career athletes competing in organized sports were excluded. A questionnaire was used to survey participants on demographic information, history of anabolic steroid usage and possible determinants of use. A list of 53 fitness centres in the Greater Beirut area was identified. Thirty-three gyms agreed to permit access to their centres. Trained research assistants distributed the questionnaire to all gym attendees on arrival, during equally selected day and evening intervals. A total of 523 gym attendees completed the survey. The prevalence of any history of anabolic steroid use was 10.7%. The majority of users (78.2%) were aware of the adverse health effects. The main reason for usage reported was body image enhancement (82.0%). Demographic factors associated with anabolic steroid use were: male gender, separated/divorced status and full-time employment. Non-medical anabolic steroid use is a public health concern in Lebanon that should be addressed by monitoring AS use in health clubs and with educational programs aimed at high-risk groups, health practitioners and health clubs that not only focus on risk awareness but also on media literacy and body image attitudes.

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