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A top official of the World Health Organization (WHO) called doping in sports a public health issue. Speaking at an international anti-doping conference, Dr. Timothy Armstrong said the use of performance-enhancing drugs is not just a sporting problem. He said about 3 percent of high school boys in the United States are taking steroids or growth hormone, according to Reuters.

The conference was organized by the Arne Ljungqvist Foundation, named after the Swedish anti-doping official who is chairman of the International Olympic Committee medical commission. “This is a first attempt to highlight this matter as a public health issue, which in my view it is,” Ljungqvist said. “Elite sport plays an obvious role. They are the role models of youngsters and if they are drug takers, that is not the right role model for the coming society.”

World-Anti-Doping Agency Director General David Howman said doping has an effect on wider society. “What we have learned in the last 10 years is that there is a trickle-down effect into recreational sports and into the high schools.”

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