[en] Amateurs sports ; Dietary supplements ; Female runners ; Self-administration of products ; Self-medication ; Vitamin and mineral supplements
[en] INTRODUCTION: Self-administration of medicines or dietary supplements without any physician's advice is a widespread behavior and appears to be more frequently practiced by women. Moreover, reasons to self-administer products are often pains and injuries especially among athletes who might also use remedies to improve physical performance. The objective of this study was thus to assess the prevalence of self-administration of medicines and dietary supplements as well as its determinants among female amateur runners. METHODS: Our sample was comprised of women who took part in amateur running events. Data regarding self-administration of substances, exclusively aiming at being physically prepared for the running event (i.e., intake the week before), were collected through an anonymous self-administered questionnaire including four specific themes (i.e., general information, self-administered medicines and dietary supplements, context of self-administration of substances and knowledge of the anti-doping regulations). RESULTS: A total of 136 women, with a median age of 39 years (interquartile range: 27-47), volunteered. Among them, 34.6% reported self-administration of medicines during the period immediately preceding the running event, with the aim to be physically prepared. More than one third (33.8%) also declared self-administration of dietary supplements. Furthermore, we observed that about 8.1% of the sample had consumed a potentially doping substance. After adjustments for confounding variables, the probability of self-administration of products (medicines or supplements) increased significantly with the intensity of the activity and the membership in a sports club. CONCLUSIONS: Our study showed that self-administration of products among female runners seems to be a widespread behavior, where the intensity of the sports practice and the network of runners seem to influence the decision to resort to this behavior.