Greensboro, NC (WFMY)-- Despite hearing about hard work or eating right, some of today's young athletes think their ticket to success is a pill.

When you go into your local drug store, vitamin store or even Walmart, you'll find an entire aisle of supplements like Creatine and testosterone booster.

According to Dr. Mike Perko, associate professor in the Department of Public Health Education at UNC Greensboro, there are 35,000 different supplements on the market. Perko said they're not illegal, do not require a prescription, and they're not regulated by the government.

Perko was part of a team that surveyed more than a million kids across the nation. And the results shocked even them.

"We were not expecting to see 10-year-old boys and girls saying, 'yes, I take something to improve my performance. And we're not just talking vitamins," said Perko.

According to the survey, the median age of kids who admitted they used supplements to be quicker, faster, or stronger was 10.8 years old.

The survey also found that kids were not getting the supplements on their own. Parents or coaches helped.

Perko, who's also a father or two, said some parents want to give their kids an extra edge, or maybe a better shot at a scholarship.

However, no one knows what the long-term health effects could be for kids.

"We have almost zero studies done on any kid less than the age of 18 because it's unethical to do these studies. Would you, as a parent, say, 'yeah, go ahead and take my 11-year-old and let's put him in a clinical trial just to see what happens'? No," said Perko.

But psychologist Nannette Funderburk said, there's one thing for sure, it sends kids the wrong message.

"The child might see it as, 'oh, this is my answer, this is my quick fix, and this is how I do everything in life,' and that's not always the way it works. Sometimes the quick fix is just a piece of tape and it doesn't stick all the time," said Funderburk.

Funderburk also said you're telling your kids you don't think they're good enough on their own. And that message from a parent can lead to anxiety or depression among kids.

Both Funderburk and Perko tell parents to do it the old-fashioned way. Help your kids set goals and lay out the plan to get there: Practice, eat right, work hard and have fun.

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