Body Image Issues Are Affecting the Health of Young Men

Research suggests some worrying trends

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There's an argument to be made for moderation here.
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Plenty of people want to be healthier and take steps towards that goal, whether it’s through exercise or the food they consume. (Or, you know, both.) But an emerging body of research suggests that men and boys are experiencing a growing amount of body dysmorphia, with unsettling health results. Some of the factors informing that have related to social media, with apps like TikTok making it that much easier to get bad advice on the right way to treat your body.

That’s just the tip of the iceberg, however. A new Washington Post article looks at the different ways in which body dysmorphia has taken hold — and the different effects that it’s had on men and boys.

The experts cited in the Post‘s article offered an important distinction between the ways that people can exercise. “[W]hen someone says that the exercise is really causing them more worry or preoccupation than joy, and when it starts to impair their schoolwork or social functioning, those are all red flags regardless of the actual activity, but just how they perceive it,” said Jason Nagata, who has researched eating disorders in young men and boys.

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Nagata also warned that boys going through puberty should be especially mindful of what they eat. “I think one of the big challenges is many of these boys and young men are engaging in these behaviors with the ultimate goal of increasing or maximizing their performance and appearance,” he told the Post. “But in the end, it can actually stunt their growth.” That’s because improper nutrition can adversely affect someone’s testosterone levels, which can lead to further issues down the line.

It’s an alarming state of affairs, and the Post‘s work on this offers a few other warning signs that may be worth looking into — whether for you or someone you know.

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