January 2017

Teens Receiving Inaccurate Information on Supplements

A new study shows that teenage boys are frequently encouraged to use creatine and testosterone boosters by sales attendants at health food stores, despite American Academy of Pediatrics’ warnings.

Researchers pretending to be 15-year-old high school athletes asked sales attendants at 244 health food stores across the United States for advice on how to increase muscle strength. Creatine was recommended by 67.2% of the stores, 38.5% of which provided the recommendation without being asked specifically, while 28.7% recommended creatine when asked directly if it was not initially suggested. Furthermore, 74.2% of sales attendants stated that a 15-year-old could purchase creatine without a parent. Testosterone boosters were recommended by 9.8% of sales attendants. Study authors suggested that pediatricians should be educating teenage patients, particularly athletes, about these products and discourage their use.


  1. Herriman M, Fletcher L, Tchaconas A, et al. Dietary Supplements and Young Teens: Misinformation and Access Provided by Retailers. Pediatrics. 2017. pii: e20161257. doi: 10.1542/peds.2016-1257.

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