Is Bodybuilding Dangerous for Boys?

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The training regimen for bodybuilding is grueling enough for an adult; should a growing child ever be allowed to venture into the activity?

That's the question being raised as more adolescents, particularly boys, start looking into bodysculpting and entering competitions.

On the Today Show Tuesday morning, a 13-year-old boy named Richard talked about how much he enjoyed setting goals for himself and "hitting them." He entered an amateur bodybuilding competition and won. "If you try your best, you'll definitely work your body to the point of perfection," he said.

That quest for perfection is what concerns psychologists like Jeff Gardere, who said on the Today Show that such intense focus on the physical ideal could lead to an "Adonis complex" and body dysmorphia.

Dr. Jordan Metzl, a sports medicine doctor at the Hospital for Special Surgery agreed. "Trying to max out on a brench press set, that's a disaster for a growing kid," he said.

That's not to say kids shouldn't hit the weights at all -- in fact, doctors, including Gardere and Metzl, encourage strength-training using light weights at high repetitions. But hitting heavy weights so rigorously can be dangerous for kids, they say.

Do you get concerned when you see children attempting to power-lift? Where would you draw the line, if at all, for your own child if he or she were passionate about bodysculpting?

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