In their pursuit of the “ideal” physique, adolescents are increasingly turning to online-purchased dietary supplements, often without seeking advice from healthcare professionals.
Evidently, a rising number of teenagers aspiring to attain Instagram-worthy bodies at an accelerated pace are flocking to gyms in unprecedented numbers.
Recent surveys reveal that more than half of these teenagers opt to buy nutritional supplements, often choosing the same products as their peers. Notably, parents often become aware of these purchases incidentally and after the fact.
This trend is mirrored in the booming dietary supplements industry, which makes lofty promises of slimming, toned bodies, and appealing appearances.
The global market for dietary supplements surged to a staggering $180 billion in 2022, with the trend showing no signs of slowing down. Illegally transported supplements, devoid of necessary licensing, contribute significantly to this growth, alongside officially sold products.
In early November, inspectors from the Financial Crimes Squad (SDOE) in Athens and Thessaloniki uncovered substantial quantities of food supplements being distributed without prior notification to the Greek Food Safety Authority, and without having paid fees amounting to 479,000 euros. The SDOE teams seized 2,247.17 kilograms of powder in containers or bags, along with 128.50 kilograms of pills, capsules, tablets, or soft gels with weight indications, and an additional 117,179 kilograms of supplements lacking proper labeling. Moreover, 8,170 milliliters of supplements in liquid form were also discovered.
Reflecting on this trend, 48-year-old Vassilis Roussopoulos, a physical education teacher and psychologist, stated to Kathimerini, “Fifteen years ago, teenagers interested in exercise were typically members of sports teams. However, this is gradually changing, and they are increasingly turning to the gym.” He added that this year, the average age of gym-goers has decreased to as young as 14.