Male Teen Body Image

It’s no secret that teen body image issues are a major problem in America.

But, if you do any research around the topic you’ll notice the majority of the information is centered squarely on body image issues present in the female teen population. And, while it is indeed a big problem, there is a shortage of information when it comes to male teen body image issues.

In this article, we’re going to look at the topic from the male perspective.

Male Teen Body Image Issues

Over the last 25 years, body image dissatisfaction has tripled among male teens. In fact, 1 in 2 have complained about their appearance in the past month, with almost 1 in 3 thinking about their appearance more than five times a day. Today, over 25% of male teens suffer from what is known as body dysmorphic disorder (BDD) – a severe preoccupation or obsession with appearance.

While female body image concerns center on losing weight, males tends to be more concerned about “bulking up”. This preoccupation has been coined “bigorexia”, or reverse anorexia. Although the underlying issue is different, it still leads to major health problems and risky behavior.

Males are using muscle-enhancing substances, and 6% have taken steroids without a doctor’s prescription. But, it doesn’t stop there. Today, males account for 1 in 4 eating disorders – binge eating, purging and overeating. Despite the health implications, only 1 in 10 males suffering from eating disorders get help.

This causes a snowball effect. Body image problems often lead to self-esteem issues, which spiral into substance abuse, anxiety, excessive weight lifting, and in more extreme cases depression. In fact, 50% of those with eating disorders meet criteria for depression.

So, what are parents to do?

The team at Rawhide Boys Ranch have put together the infographic shown below. It looks closely at the issue from the male teen perspective, identifies the causes, and lists warning signs and ways parents can help their teen if struggling with body image issues.

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About the Author

Robbie Richards is a member of the marketing team at Rawhide Boys Ranch, a non-profit organization helping at-risk youth in Wisconsin.

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