Men Have Body Image Issues Too!

So, it’s not breaking news to many, but men and boys have body image issues too! Some of these issues may not be the same as women, but they are issues none the less. A recent article in the New York Times, titled “Muscular Body Image Lures Boys Into Gym, And Obsession” describes the more recent phenomenon of teenage boys’ obsession with muscle mass.

“In a study to be published on Monday in the journal Pediatrics, more than 40 percent of boys in middle school and high school said they regularly exercised with the goal of increasing muscle mass. Thirty-eight percent said they used protein supplements, and nearly 6 percent said they had experimented with steroids.”

Béatrice de Géa for The New York Times
David Abusheikh at a gym in Brooklyn. He goes six days a week and says he uses protein supplements to help build muscle

It’s well known that majority of adolescent girls want to lose weight… They do this by counting and cutting calories and engaging in more aerobic activities such as running, cycling, and aerobic classes to shed the pounds. On the other end, adolescent boys are turning to supplements, steroids, and hitting the weights multiple times a week or day to increase their muscle mass and even gain weight.

“The problem with supplements is they’re not regulated like drugs, so it’s very hard to know what’s in them,” said Dr. Shalender Bhasin, a professor of medicine at Boston University School of Medicine. Some contain anabolic steroids, and even high-quality protein supplements might be dangerous in large amounts, or if taken to replace meals, he said. “These things just haven’t been studied very well,” he said.

While this does not mean all adolescent boys are going to the gym in unhealthy amount, there is an increase in this types of behavior over the past 30 years. Just as the media and social pressures are partially to blame for the craze for thinness in women, so too is the urge to have high muscle mass for men.

I would like to reiterate my stance on this type of issue. It is crucial to live an active lifestyle and eat healthy, but we must do so in moderation. There’s a BIG difference between having a regime of going to the gym every week and being obsessed with going to the gym. If missing one session at the gym ruins your day and you constantly obsess over it, then you may have an issue.

The main reason why I wanted to post about the New York Times’ article is to show that this is not just a female problem, men/boys have just as many body image issues!

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