Excessive consumption of dietary supplements among professionals working in gyms in Pelotas, Rio Grande do Sul State, Brazil, 2012** This study was funded by the National Council for Scientific and Technological Development (CNPq)/ Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation (MCTI): Public notice 14/2012, No. 474306/2012-7.

Tatiane Araujo Cava Samanta Winck Madruga Gesiane Dias Trindade Teixeira Felipe Fossati Reichert Marcelo Cozzensa da Silva Airton José Rombaldi About the authors

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

to investigate the prevalence and factors associated with excessive consumption of dietary supplements among professionals working at gyms in Pelotas, Rio Grande do Sul State, Brazil.

METHODS:

this is a cross-sectional study with all local fitness professionals identified in 2012; excessive consumption of dietary supplements was defined as the use of three or more types of supplements simultaneously; multivariate analysis was carried out using Poisson regression with robust variance.

RESULTS:

497 professionals were interviewed; the prevalence of excessive consumption of dietary supplements was 10.5% (95%CI 7.9;13.5); there was association with the male sex (PR=3.2; 95%CI 1.6;6.7) and with length of time of dietary supplement consumption ≥4 years when compared to <1 year (PR=2.8; 95%CI 1.7;4.7); lower consumption was found among professionals with higher levels of education, regardless of whether they had a degree in physical education or not (p=0,007).

CONCLUSIONS:

prevalence of excessive consumption of dietary supplements can be considered high and was associated with sociodemographic variables.

Key words:
Dietary Supplements; Physical Education and Training; Motor Activity; Nutrition Surveys; Cross-Sectional Studies

Introduction

The consequences of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) represent a set of Public Health problems. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that NCDs were responsible for 63% of a total of 38 million deaths worldwide in 2012.11. World Health Organization. Global status report on noncommunicable diseases 2014 [Internet]. Geneva: World Health Organization; 2014 [cited 2016 Aug 08]. Available from: Available from: http://apps.who.int/iris/bitstream/10665/148114/1/9789241564854_eng.pdf?ua=1
http://apps.who.int/iris/bitstream/10665...
In Brazil, the NCDs are equally relevant, and were responsible for 72.0% of the deaths occurred in 2007. Cardiovascular diseases, cancer and diabetes have stood out: 31.3%, 16.3% and 5.2% of deaths, respectively.22. Schmidt MI, Duncan BB, Silva GA, Menezes AM, Monteiro CA, Barreto SM, et al. Chronic non-communicable diseases in Brazil: burden and current challenges. Lancet. 2011 Jun;377(9781):1949-61.

According to the WHO, a small group of risk factors are responsible for a great amount of deaths caused by NCDs and for a substantial fraction of the burden of diseases due to these conditions. Some of these factors are smoking, heavy drinking, inadequate diets and physical inactivity.11. World Health Organization. Global status report on noncommunicable diseases 2014 [Internet]. Geneva: World Health Organization; 2014 [cited 2016 Aug 08]. Available from: Available from: http://apps.who.int/iris/bitstream/10665/148114/1/9789241564854_eng.pdf?ua=1
http://apps.who.int/iris/bitstream/10665...

In the search for healthier habits, which include a balanced diet combined with regular physical activities, gyms are gaining space as specialized organizations to provide physical activities and sports services.33. Silva MC, Rombaldi AJ, Azevedo MR, Hallal PC. Participação atual e passada em academias de ginástica entre adultos: prevalência e fatores associados. Rev Bras Ativ Fis Saude. 2008;13(1):28-36. However, at gym's environment, it is common to see body-esthetic stereotypes reinforced,44. Saba FKF. Aderência: a prática do exercício físico em academias. São Paulo: Manole; 2001. which could represent another type of risk to gym clients, who could be induced to adopt inadequate diets and indiscriminate use of dietary supplements.55. Nogueira FRS, Brito AF, Vieira TI, Oliveira CVC, Gouveia RLB. Prevalência de uso de recursos ergogênicos em praticantes de musculação na cidade de João Pessoa, Paraíba. Rev Bras Cienc Esporte. 2015 jan-mar;37(1):56-64.

Usually, professionals who work at gyms suffer from esthetic pressure and many of them yield to the use of substances which will allow them to achieve the body they long for.66. Palma A, Assis M. Uso de esteroides anabólico-androgênicos e aceleradores metabólicos entre professores de educação física que atuam em academias de ginástica. Rev Bras Cienc Esporte. 2005 set;27(1):75-92. In 2005, Palma and Assis66. Palma A, Assis M. Uso de esteroides anabólico-androgênicos e aceleradores metabólicos entre professores de educação física que atuam em academias de ginástica. Rev Bras Cienc Esporte. 2005 set;27(1):75-92. pointed out in their study that 25% of fitness professionals in Rio de Janeiro had used, at least once, metabolic accelerators and anabolic-androgenic steroids, and they reported using those substances for considering their bodies as a way to show their work. Because of this self-representation, they end up spreading the use of unnecessary products, which goes against the commandments of their profession: to promote health and well-being of their clients.55. Nogueira FRS, Brito AF, Vieira TI, Oliveira CVC, Gouveia RLB. Prevalência de uso de recursos ergogênicos em praticantes de musculação na cidade de João Pessoa, Paraíba. Rev Bras Cienc Esporte. 2015 jan-mar;37(1):56-64.,77. Hirschbruch MD, Fisberg M, Mochizuk L. Consumo de suplementos por jovens frequentadores de academias de ginástica em São Paulo. Rev Bras Med Esporte. 2008 nov-dez;14(6):539-43.

Previous studies77. Hirschbruch MD, Fisberg M, Mochizuk L. Consumo de suplementos por jovens frequentadores de academias de ginástica em São Paulo. Rev Bras Med Esporte. 2008 nov-dez;14(6):539-43.,88. Souza R, Ceni GC. Uso de suplementos alimentares e autopercepção corporal de praticantes de musculação em academias de Palmeira das Missões-RS. Rev Bras Nutr Esportiva. 2014 jan-fev;8(43):20-9. have showed that the gym environment favors the use of dietary supplements, besides suggesting that the prescription of those products is done by some instructors. The hypotheses which explain such conduct are based on the profit obtained with the commercialization of the supplements inside gyms, due to the direct contact between client and instructor,99. Santos MAA, Santos RP. Uso de suplementos alimentares como forma de melhorar a performance nos programas de atividade física em academias de ginástica. Rev Paul Educ Fis. 2002 jul-dez;16(2):174-85. based on the fact that the client sees in his or her instructor the body they long for,66. Palma A, Assis M. Uso de esteroides anabólico-androgênicos e aceleradores metabólicos entre professores de educação física que atuam em academias de ginástica. Rev Bras Cienc Esporte. 2005 set;27(1):75-92. and this is eased by the unavailability of nutritionists in these environments.1010. Alves E, Rossi CE, Vasconcelos FAG. Nutricionistas egressos da Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina: áreas de atuação, distribuição geográfica, índices de pós-graduação e de filiação aos órgãos de classe. Rev Nutr. 2003 jul-set;16(3):295-304.

According to the Ministry of Health, dietary supplements are used as complements of calories and/or nutrients to the diet of a healthy person, for cases in which ingestion through food is insufficient or the diet needs supplements.1111. Ministério da Saúde (BR). Secretaria de Atenção à Saúde. Departamento de Atenção Básica. Política Nacional de Alimentação e Nutrição [Internet]. Brasília: Ministério da Saúde; 2013 [citado 2016 ago 08]. Disponível em: http://bvsms.saude.gov.br/bvs/publicacoes/politica_nacional_alimentacao_nutricao.pdf
http://bvsms.saude.gov.br/bvs/publicacoe...
The Brazilian Health Surveillance Agency (Anvisa) has alerted about the consumption of such supplements because, as they are produced in several countries with different regulations, they can contain prohibited substances in their composition. Furthermore, they may have deceptive information in their labels, besides causing harm to consumers’ health, such as addictiveness, toxic effects on the liver, kidney failure, metabolic dysfunctions, cardiac abnormalities, alterations on the nervous system and, in some cases, even death.1212. Agência Nacional de Vigilância Sanitária. Relatório de atividades 2012 [Internet]. Brasília: Agência Nacional de Vigilância Sanitária; 2013 [citado 2016 ago 08]. Disponível em: Disponível em: http://portal.anvisa.gov.br/documents/281258/2742545/Relat%C3%B3rio+de+atividades+2012.pdf/9e496d4d-7d1e-4541-a710-43633093a11d
http://portal.anvisa.gov.br/documents/28...
Therefore, the reckless consumption of supplements could represent a health problem to its users.1313. Pereira RF, Lajolo FM, Hirschbruch MD. Consumo de suplementos por alunos de academias de ginástica em São Paulo. Rev Nutr. 2003 jul-set;16(3):265-72.

The present study aimed to investigate the prevalence and the factors associated to the excessive use of dietary supplements by fitness professionals in Pelotas-RS, Brazil.

Methods

This is a cross-sectional census-type study, on data collected directly from fitness professionals in the urban area of Pelotas-RS, in 2012.

All gyms (regardless of size) in the urban area of Pelotas were visited. The total number of gyms in the municipality was obtained from two different sources. The first source was the records of this type of establishment registered in the Town Hall of Pelotas-RS. After this search, we mapped the city (through active search) in order to find the establishments which, for some reason, were not registered. The urban area of the municipality was divided into 19 census tracts, and agents were sent to identify establishments not found in the city records. Each agent also acted with key-informants in their respective work areas (pharmacies, bars, supermarkets, taxi drivers, among others), who helped find unregistered gyms. A total of 170 gyms were spotted; 569 professionals who were responsible for the physical activities available at those gyms were identified (owners, teachers, workers authorized by the profession board or interns).

The professionals who took part of the study were the instructors (with or without a higher education degree in Physical Education, authorized by the profession board or not) who taught classes with choreographed exercises using dumbbells, trendy activities in the media or in the fitness world, personal trainers, teachers of several modalities of gymnastics, weight lifting instructors, fight instructors, workers who used elliptical bicycles to promote physical activities and workers who taught dance, Pilates gymnastics/stretching, yoga and water activities.

After mapping the gyms in the city, we made a first contact with each establishment to collect basic information and present the aims of the research, whose approach was based on scheduled interviews with professionals identified by the gyms.

Physical education university students (n=20) were the interviewers, after having attended a 20-hour training course to standardize the procedure of data collection.

The professionals who could not be found at the gyms after three attempts were considered as losses; those who refused to answer the questionnaire even after an attempt by the supervisor of data collecting were considered refusals.

The study outcome was the excessive consumption of dietary supplements (protein, carbs, anti-catabolic, multivitamins, and hormones), defined as current consumption (at the time of the interview) of three or more types of these substances simultaneously.1414. Goston JL, Correia MI. Intake of nutritional supplements among people exercising in gyms and influencing factors. Nutrition. 2010 Jun;26(6):604-11.

15. Balluz LS, Kieszak SM, Philen RM, Mulinare J. Vitamin and mineral supplement use in the United States: results from the third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. Arch Fam Med. 2000 Mar;9(3):258-62.
-1616. Burns RD, Schiller MR, Merrick MA, Wolf KN. Intercollegiate student athlete use of nutritional supplements and the role of athletic trainers and dietitians in nutrition counseling. J Am Diet Assoc. 2004 Feb;104(2):246-9. The independent variables collected through open questions were:

  1. - sex (male; female);

  2. - age (in years);

  3. - education level (up to complete high school; Physical Education student; higher education degree in Physical Education; higher education degree in other area);

  4. - marital status (with or without a partner);

  5. - length of time in the profession (months/years);

  6. - modality of work at the gym (weight lifting instructor; personal trainer/ autonomous/space renter; fight; Pilates; gymnastic; water activities; yoga; dance; others);

  7. - advices to clients about the consumption of dietary supplements (yes; no);

  8. - period of time using dietary supplements (months/days); and

  9. - reasons which have led them to use dietary supplements (remain healthy; improve their sports performance; gain muscle mass; have more energy/reduce fatigue; prevent or treat diseases and injuries; reduce stress; lose weight; correct bad eating habits; others).

The database was structured and data were double typed at Epi Info 6.1, which also verified errors and inconsistencies. Afterward, this database was exported to the statistics software Stata 12.0, used for the analysis. In the crude analysis, Pearson's chi-square test and chi-square test for linear trend were applied. Multivariate analysis was performed through Poisson regression, with robust variance, and the variables were placed in the same level for backwards selection. A 5% significance level was adopted.

The Ethics Research Committee of Physical Education of the Federal University of Pelotas has approved this project, under the Protocol No. 021/2011 (approved on October 12, 2011). All individuals were guaranteed the right of refusal and confidentiality over the information given. Those who agreed to participate in the study signed a Term of Free and Informed Consent.

Results

A total of 497 professionals were interviewed, and there were 9% of losses and refusals. More than half of the sample were males (57.9%), aged between 20 and 29 years old (57.5%), with a higher education degree in Physical Education (53.3%) and did not live with a partner (70.6%). However, 29% of the sample did not have a degree in the specific area (workers with no degree but with authorization of the Physical Education Regional Board to work; students of Physical Education and other individuals illegally exercising the profession) (Table 1).

Table 1 -
Sociodemographic characteristics of fitness professionals (n=497) in Pelotas-RS, 2012

With regard to the evaluated characteristics of work, approximately three quarters (72.5%) had been exercising the profession for less than 10 years. The most frequent modality of classes amongst the professionals was weight lifting (48.3%), followed by personal trainer (38.9%). More than half of the professionals who used dietary supplements had started taking them four years before or earlier (63.2%) and the main reasons for using supplements were to remain healthy, improve their sports performance and to have more energy/reduce fatigue. Amongst the professionals evaluated, 10.5% excessively consumed dietary supplements (three or more simultaneously) and 37.8% of the professionals interviewed advised their clients to take dietary supplements (Tables 2 and 3).

Table 2 -
Description of work characteristics of fitness professionals (n=497) in Pelotas-RS, 2012
Table 3 -
Association between excessive consumption of dietary supplements with sociodemographic variables among fitness professionals (n=497) in Pelotas-RS, 2012

After the adjusted analysis, the remaining associated variables were 'sex' (men presented probability of excessive consumption 3.2 times higher than women (95%CI 1.6;6.7; p<0.001) and 'education level' (inverse linear trend between excessive consumption and education level; p=0.007) (Table 3).

Observing the association of excessive consumption of dietary supplements according to the variables related to work, an increasing linear trend was identified in the excessive consumption of dietary supplements regarding the time progress (p=0.003), and those professionals who reported the consumption of dietary supplements for four years or more presented a 2.8 higher probability of consumption (95%CI 1.7;4.7), in comparison to those who had been taking supplements for less than a year. Furthermore, those who consumed dietary supplements in excess showed a 70.0% higher probability (95%CI 1.1;2.7) of advising their clients to use these types of substances (p<0.001) (Table 3).

Discussion

The present study showed prevalence and factors associated with excessive consumption of dietary supplements amongst fitness professionals in Pelotas-RS. The findings indicated that approximately one in ten individuals consumed supplements in excess. The prevalence of excessive consumption was higher among male professionals, without a higher education degree and who had been taking dietary supplements for four years or more. Of these professionals, 37.8% used to advise their clients on the use of dietary supplements.

Some important aspects of the present study which differ from previous studies should be highlighted: its uniqueness, because it is a census referring to fitness professionals in a medium-sized municipality in the southern Brazil, besides the careful logistics and the low proportion of losses and refusals. In this sense, it was difficult to discuss the results, because previous Brazilian studies were conducted with convenience sampling and in gyms located exclusively in the central area of the studied municipalities.1717. Schneider L, Bennemann GD, Ballard CR, Trindade MCC. Avaliação de conhecimento em nutrição e de hábitos alimentares por profissionais educadores físicos no município de Guarapuava-Paraná. Rev Bras Nutr Esportiva. 2014 jan-fev;8(43):65-73.

18. Zeiser CC, Silva RCR. O uso de suplementos alimentares entre os profissionais de educação física atuantes em academias da cidade de Florianópolis. Rev Nutr Pauta. 2007 out;15(86):30-3.

19. Chiaverini LCT, Oliveira EP. Avaliação do consumo de suplementos alimentares por praticantes de atividade física em academias de Botucatu-SP. Rev Bras Nutr Esportiva. 2013 jan-mar;7(38):108-17.

20. Albuquerque MM. Avaliação do consumo de suplementos alimentares nas academias de Guará-DF. Rev Bras Nutr Esportiva. 2012 mar-abr;6(32):112-7.

21. Brito DS, Liberali R. Perfil do consumo de suplemento nutricional por praticantes de exercício físico nas academias da cidade de Vitória da Conquista- BA. Rev Bras Nutr Esportiva. 2012 jan-fev;6(31):66-75.

22. Portal RD, Silva GC, Reis FVF, Pires Filho JA. Avaliação dos conhecimentos nutricionais de educadores físicos em academias de Belém-PA. Rev Bras Nutr Esportiva. 2009 nov-dez;3(18):492-500.
-2323. Vasconcelos GR, Moraes MI, Finelli SB. Avaliação do perfil e do conhecimento básico de educadores físicos em relação à suplementação alimentar em academias de Belo Horizonte-MG. Rev Bras Nutr Esportiva. 2011 set-out;5(29):455-60. However, the following limitations should be mentioned: possibility of selection bias (losses and refusals could be related to health conditions caused by the use of dietary supplements); and the possibility of information bias (self-reported information with a tendency by the individuals of giving socially acceptable answers).

The reported prevalence of excessive consumption of dietary supplements is close to one reported by Goston and Correia in 2010,1414. Goston JL, Correia MI. Intake of nutritional supplements among people exercising in gyms and influencing factors. Nutrition. 2010 Jun;26(6):604-11. in a study with representative samples of practitioners of physical activities offered at gyms of Belo Horizonte-MG, where 12.9% of individuals consumed dietary supplements in excess, having similar criteria to the present study. However, the prevalence of excessive consumption of dietary supplements showed in the present research was inferior to the one reported in the study of Schneider et al., in 2014,1717. Schneider L, Bennemann GD, Ballard CR, Trindade MCC. Avaliação de conhecimento em nutrição e de hábitos alimentares por profissionais educadores físicos no município de Guarapuava-Paraná. Rev Bras Nutr Esportiva. 2014 jan-fev;8(43):65-73. when, in a sample of 30 Physical Education professionals from six gyms in Guarapuava-PR, 44.0% reported using from two to five types of dietary supplements and 16.0% used more than five types. The difference between the prevalence in the present study and in the report by Schneider et al.,1717. Schneider L, Bennemann GD, Ballard CR, Trindade MCC. Avaliação de conhecimento em nutrição e de hábitos alimentares por profissionais educadores físicos no município de Guarapuava-Paraná. Rev Bras Nutr Esportiva. 2014 jan-fev;8(43):65-73. probably owes to the small sample size, both in numbers and types of gyms included in that research, which could have overestimated the results.

In Pelotas-RS, the excessive consumption of dietary supplements by the interviewed professionals presented a prevalence of 10.5%, mostly among male individuals, weight lifting instructors and personal trainers, and those without a higher education degree in Physical Education. The clients of modalities which involve strength/muscle gain, probably, searched for professionals with stereotyped bodies,2424. Guimarães JCM, Moura DL, Antunes MM. Quando a beleza põe mesa: uma análise das condições de trabalho do profissional de educação física em mega-academias. Motrivivencia. 2011 jun;36:197-213. a fact that would influence the consumption of dietary supplements. These products must always be prescribed by qualified professionals,2525. Sociedade Brasileira de Medicina do Esporte. Diretriz da Sociedade Brasileira de Medicina do Esporte: modificações dietéticas, reposição hídrica, suplementos alimentares e drogas: comprovação de ação ergogênica e potenciais riscos para a saúde. Rev Bras Med Esporte. 2003 mar-abr;9(2):43-56. and its excessive use is to be avoided. It is also important to highlight that the dietary supplements should be recommended in situations of physical exercises with high energy output and/or risk of dehydration, and when there is nutritional deficiency, situations which are not always present in users of dietary supplements. Taking into account the high economic status of the gym clients,33. Silva MC, Rombaldi AJ, Azevedo MR, Hallal PC. Participação atual e passada em academias de ginástica entre adultos: prevalência e fatores associados. Rev Bras Ativ Fis Saude. 2008;13(1):28-36. these users of nutritional ergogenic products are those with less consumption needs.1414. Goston JL, Correia MI. Intake of nutritional supplements among people exercising in gyms and influencing factors. Nutrition. 2010 Jun;26(6):604-11.

The result found in this study revealed an abusive consumption of dietary supplements, higher among men (15.0%), corroborating other studies that showed a higher prevalence of consumption of dietary supplements among men, both professionals1818. Zeiser CC, Silva RCR. O uso de suplementos alimentares entre os profissionais de educação física atuantes em academias da cidade de Florianópolis. Rev Nutr Pauta. 2007 out;15(86):30-3.

19. Chiaverini LCT, Oliveira EP. Avaliação do consumo de suplementos alimentares por praticantes de atividade física em academias de Botucatu-SP. Rev Bras Nutr Esportiva. 2013 jan-mar;7(38):108-17.
-2020. Albuquerque MM. Avaliação do consumo de suplementos alimentares nas academias de Guará-DF. Rev Bras Nutr Esportiva. 2012 mar-abr;6(32):112-7. and gym clientes.1414. Goston JL, Correia MI. Intake of nutritional supplements among people exercising in gyms and influencing factors. Nutrition. 2010 Jun;26(6):604-11. Literature has proved that men are more interested in ergogenic resources to increase physical performance, strength, muscle tone and shorter recovery time,2626. Froiland K, Koszewski W, Hingst J, Kopecky L. Nutrition al supplement use among college athletes and their sources of information. Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab. 2004 Feb;14(1):104-20. which makes them more exposed to the excessive consumption verified in this kind of environment.

The age group from 20 to 29 was the most prevalent in fitness professionals, representing more than half of the interviewed group. A qualitative study, conducted with fitness professionals in Rio de Janeiro-RJ, in 2011,2424. Guimarães JCM, Moura DL, Antunes MM. Quando a beleza põe mesa: uma análise das condições de trabalho do profissional de educação física em mega-academias. Motrivivencia. 2011 jun;36:197-213. reported that this job market selects younger professionals because it considers a supposed expectation of the clients on an esthetic model to be followed. In turn, the excessive consumption of dietary supplements showed a similar distribution among the different age groups, similar to what was found among practitioners of gym modalities in Belo Horizonte-MG.1414. Goston JL, Correia MI. Intake of nutritional supplements among people exercising in gyms and influencing factors. Nutrition. 2010 Jun;26(6):604-11.

The fact that not all professionals had a specific degree to work in the area stands out, given the high amount of instructors without a higher education degree in Physical Education (46.7%). Furthermore, professionals with less schooling were those who most consumed dietary supplements in excess. A hypothesis for this finding could be the probable lack of scientific information, which makes those workers susceptible to pressure of the media and job market. This finding seems to oppose previous studies conducted with different samples,2020. Albuquerque MM. Avaliação do consumo de suplementos alimentares nas academias de Guará-DF. Rev Bras Nutr Esportiva. 2012 mar-abr;6(32):112-7.,2121. Brito DS, Liberali R. Perfil do consumo de suplemento nutricional por praticantes de exercício físico nas academias da cidade de Vitória da Conquista- BA. Rev Bras Nutr Esportiva. 2012 jan-fev;6(31):66-75. which showed that that gym clients with higher education levels were the ones who consumed more dietary supplements.

With regard to the length of time of dietary supplements consumption, there was a direct association with excessive consumption between professionals who had been taking those products for four years or more. No well-conducted studies that could verify the same findings amongst fitness professionals were found. Notwithstanding, the behavior on dietary supplements consumption by those professionals seems to be similar to the behaviors of gym clients. Goston,2727. Goston JL. Prevalência do uso de suplementos nutricionais entre praticantes de atividade física em academias de Belo Horizonte: fatores associados [dissertação]. Belo Horizonte: Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais; 2008. in study with more than a thousand practitioners of physical activities in gyms in Belo Horizonte-BH, concluded that those that had been practicing longer showed 77.0% more odds of consuming dietary supplements (OR=1.77 95%CI 1.38;2.28) than individuals with less time dedicated to those activities. Another study, conducted with gym clients in São Paulo-SP, reported higher consumption of dietary supplements among those who had been exercising and attending gyms for longer.77. Hirschbruch MD, Fisberg M, Mochizuk L. Consumo de suplementos por jovens frequentadores de academias de ginástica em São Paulo. Rev Bras Med Esporte. 2008 nov-dez;14(6):539-43. Apparently, as time of practicing increases, the individual is more exposed to the consuming environment and, consequently, they tend to search for dietary supplements to reinforce the effects of their training.88. Souza R, Ceni GC. Uso de suplementos alimentares e autopercepção corporal de praticantes de musculação em academias de Palmeira das Missões-RS. Rev Bras Nutr Esportiva. 2014 jan-fev;8(43):20-9.,2828. Gomes GS, Degiovanni GC, Garlipp MR, Chiarello PG, Jordão Júnior AA. Caracterização do consumo de suplementos nutricionais em praticantes de atividade física em academias. Medicina (Ribeirao Preto). 2008 jul-set;41(3):327-31.

This study found a significant association between excessive consumption of dietary supplements and advices towards it: among professionals who abusively used these substances, there were those who stimulated their clients to do the same. Moreover, considering that most professionals who excessively consumed dietary supplements had up to high school degree, possibly most of the advices given on the use of these products have come from people who, besides not being trained to do so (not having a higher education degree in Nutrition), had low education level. With regard to the prescription of dietary supplements, previous studies assigned to the physical educators the onus of prescribing the use of ergogenic resources at gyms. In this sense, well conducted studies, performed with representative groups of gym practitioners in Brazilian capitals,55. Nogueira FRS, Brito AF, Vieira TI, Oliveira CVC, Gouveia RLB. Prevalência de uso de recursos ergogênicos em praticantes de musculação na cidade de João Pessoa, Paraíba. Rev Bras Cienc Esporte. 2015 jan-mar;37(1):56-64.,77. Hirschbruch MD, Fisberg M, Mochizuk L. Consumo de suplementos por jovens frequentadores de academias de ginástica em São Paulo. Rev Bras Med Esporte. 2008 nov-dez;14(6):539-43.,1414. Goston JL, Correia MI. Intake of nutritional supplements among people exercising in gyms and influencing factors. Nutrition. 2010 Jun;26(6):604-11. pointed that even where there were nutritionists available, self-prescription of supplements was more frequent than prescription done by nutritionists or personal trainers.

All in all, professionals who consumed dietary supplements in excess were those who worked with gymnastics classes, weight lifting and personal training. A hypothesis for such finding is the high amount of working hours and the need of extra energy to maintain vitality and excitement during classes. This hypothesis is reinforced when we verify that the main reason stated by the professionals interviewed for the consumption of dietary supplements was to stay healthy. When revising the extensive international literature on practitioners of gym modalities, we can observe the same: individuals who most used dietary supplements were those who worked out longer.77. Hirschbruch MD, Fisberg M, Mochizuk L. Consumo de suplementos por jovens frequentadores de academias de ginástica em São Paulo. Rev Bras Med Esporte. 2008 nov-dez;14(6):539-43.,2828. Gomes GS, Degiovanni GC, Garlipp MR, Chiarello PG, Jordão Júnior AA. Caracterização do consumo de suplementos nutricionais em praticantes de atividade física em academias. Medicina (Ribeirao Preto). 2008 jul-set;41(3):327-31.,2929. Hirschbruch MD, Carvalho JR. Nutrição esportiva: uma visão prática. 2. ed. Barueri: Manole; 2008. However, we could not find similar studies conducted in Brazil.

The present study found that excessive consumption of dietary supplements was higher among male professionals, with no higher education degree and who had been taking dietary supplements for four years or more. More than a third of the professionals who consumed these substances in excess reported that they used to advice their clients to take the same substances.

Besides not bringing any advantages to physical performance, the excessive consumption of dietary supplements could cause damages to health and its prescription is supposed to be done only by nutritionists. Fitness professionals are supposed to correctly guide on the effects of the abusive consumption of these substances on a person's health. Actions to qualify less prepared professionals and the supervision of the Regionals Boards of Physical Education are necessary, so professionals can be warned about the risks of excessive consumption of dietary supplements and withdraw individuals who illegally exercise this profession from the job market.

References

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  • *
    This study was funded by the National Council for Scientific and Technological Development (CNPq)/ Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation (MCTI): Public notice 14/2012, No. 474306/2012-7.

Publication Dates

  • Publication in this collection
    Jan-Mar 2017

History

  • Received
    02 Nov 2015
  • Accepted
    18 July 2016
Secretaria de Vigilância em Saúde - Ministério da Saúde do Brasil Brasília - Distrito Federal - Brazil
E-mail: leilapgarcia@gmail.com