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Young Boys Struggle With Body Image, Too

MANSFIELD (CBS 11 NEWS) - Seventeen year old Chad Whitener, a linebacker for Mansfield High School, lifts weight and watches his diet.

"I think I look good. I'm not gonna lie," he said.

He still sees room for improvement.

"My love handles. Yea, they're not that big, but they're still there," he said.

When it comes to body image issues, the focus tends to be on young women, but more and more, it's young men struggling with appearance.

"What they see on reality shows or MTV, people walking around without their shirts on, showing off their buff bodies," said Mansfield High School Coach Jeff Hulme.

"It affects us, I think, the same way it affects girls," said Whitener.

A new study in the journal "Pediatrics" found more than 40 percent of middle and high school age boys exercised regularly to build muscle mass.

Thirty four percent reported using protein powders or shakes. Ten percent used another muscle enhancing substance. Almost six percent admitted they had tried steroids.

"They have no idea what they're putting in their bodies," said Amy Goodson, a nutritionist with Texas Health Ben Hogan Sports Medicine.

"They want to be the athletes they see, but physiologically, they're not there yet," she said.

It's not just student athletes who seek a muscular physique.

"Even kids who don't play sports focus on their body," said Austin Davis, a co-captain on the Mansfield football team. "I know a lot of kids who do supplements."

The effects of supplements on teenagers, though, hasn't been studied.

"No one regulates the supplement industry," said Goodson. "We really don't know how those supplements affect natural testosterone production, growth hormone production, and what their bodies naturally do."

Her advice to teens – keep healthy habits and be patient.

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