Prevalence of doping use in elite sports: a review of numbers and methods.
BACKGROUND To estimate the lifetime prevalence and address the attitudes and knowledge of using prohibited substances (doping) among sport players in Saudi Arabia. METHODS A cross-sectional survey carried out using systematic random sampling technique among Saudi players of variable sports attending the sport clubs, stadiums, and sport fields (70 sport clubs, 22 types of sports belong to 22 Saudi sport federations were visted in 18 cities from all regions of Saudi Arabia). RESULTS A total of 1142 male sport players were interviewed with main age of 24. The prevalence of using prohibited substances (doping) was 4.3 %. The main reason for using prohibited substances was to improve performance (69 %). The prevalence of using food supplements (not prohibited) was 38.4 %. Among the players, 30 % of them believe that such behavior is against the spirit of sport while 70 % of the players are aware of punishment against doping. 65 % of players admitted that they received advice on prohibited substances. Higher rate of using prohibited substances (doping) among Saudi players was associated with low education, age below 20 years, previous use of food supplements and lack of punishment awareness. CONCLUSION Using prohibited substances (doping) among Saudi sport players is common. Players believe that such use is against the spirit of the sport and they are aware about its punishment, despite this, they are still using prohibited substances.