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WMJ. 2002;101(2):25-30.

Creatine supplementation in Wisconsin high school athletes.

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University of Wisconsin Hospital Sports Medicine Center, USA.



Creatine is a nutritional supplement used to enhance athletic performance in collegiate and professional athletes. There is increasing evidence that high school athletes are using creatine as well. The objective of this study was to describe patterns of creatine supplementation as well as the behaviors and beliefs associated with creatine use in high school athletes.


4011 high school student-athletes from 37 public high schools in Wisconsin took part in a cross-sectional, multi-site, anonymous, descriptive survey. Measurements included self-reported patterns of creatine use.


16.7% of the athletes (25.3% males, 3.9% females) reported using creatine. Creatine use was lowest in the 9th grade (8.4%) and highest in the 12th grade (24.6%). The percentage of participants in each sport who used creatine varied considerably from 1.3% (female cross country) to 30.1% (football). Increased strength was the most likely perceived benefit of creatine supplementation, while dehydration was cited most often as a perceived risk of creatine use. Users were encouraged to take creatine most often by their friends while their parents discouraged its use.


Despite the lack of research regarding the efficacy or safety of creatine supplementation in high school athletes, creatine was used by 25% of males and 4% of female high school athletes in Wisconsin. High school athletes who use creatine may not be aware of the risks and benefits associated with creatine supplementation. Primary care providers and sports medicine professionals need to educate athletes, coaches and parents about the creatine use as a performance enhancing supplement.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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