UK Anti-Doping (UKAD) has partnered with ukactive in a quest to improve education around the issue of Image and Performance Enhancing Drugs (IPED) in the nation’s gyms and leisure facilities.
The collaboration aims to set-up educational programmes to support operators, coaches and personal trainers to encourage clean sport and exercise in physical activity environments and tackle the growing issue of body image.
UKAD, which is responsible for ensuring sports bodies in the UK are compliant with the World Anti-Doping Code, announced the partnership at its Clean Sport Forum, which took place at Cardiff’s Principality Stadium.
The project will look to research attitudes around IPED usage among gym users and awareness in the fitness industry, exploring the connection to body image pressures on young people.
The partnership with ukactive, the not-for-profit health body for the physical sector, follows a recommendation made in the UK Government’s Tailored Review of UKAD earlier in the year, published by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.
Its primary message was for UKAD to influence the fitness sector and to work with representative bodies to promote improved guidance and knowledge on the use of safe supplements.
Commenting on the collaboration, UKAD chair, Trevor Pearce, said: “Doping is a complex problem reaching beyond athletes competing on the field of play, into other areas of society. It is right for us to be working closely with the fitness industry to support them to educate gym users and those who may go down the high-performance path into elite sport.
“It is becoming increasingly apparent that you cannot ignore the crossover between those using IPEDs to look a certain way, and those looking to improve their performance in sport. The pressures around body image which are placed on young people need addressing.
“Our research with ukactive will help us to better understand and address these challenges and protect athletes and members of the public from the dangers of IPED use.”
Huw Edwards (pictured), ukactive public affairs director, added: “This research collaboration will help to give us a clearer picture of IPED issues in gyms and leisure centres.
“With leadership from the fitness sector, we can ensure that people of all ages make informed decisions about whether to use supplements and that starts with a joined-up approach to the education of staff, gym users and athletes.”