Body-Image Issues Affect Teenage Boys, Too, According To New Study

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It turns out women aren't the only ones who have unrealistic beauty standards. According to a new, myth-busting study conducted by the American Psychological Association, teenage boys worry about their body image as well.

The study followed 2,139 16-year-old boys for 13 years and determined that many of them, despite having healthy bodies, believed they were either too fat or too skinny. The boys who suffered from a distorted body image were also likely to suffer from depression. According to Dr. Aaron Blashill, a staff psychologist at Massachusetts General Hospital and a faculty member at Harvard Medical School, body-image issues among boys is something that's largely overlooked. "Teenage girls tend to internalize and strive for a thin appearance, whereas teenage boys tend to emphasize a more muscular body type," says Blashill. "We found that some of these boys who feel they are unable to achieve that often unattainable image are suffering and may be taking drastic measures." Some of the drastic measures Blashill is referring to include steroid use by boys who perceived themselves as underweight and eating disorders by boys who felt they were overweight.

Another recent study reveals that older men are not immune to body-image issues either. They feel the same pressures to look a certain way as women do. In fact, research suggests that 80% of men speak negatively about their own body compared to 75% of women. This has led to a drastic rise in eating disorders among men, according to The Binge Eating Disorder Association, which asserts that 20% of its calls are from men, a number that has risen 15% since 2008.

Blashill believes that behavioral therapy can be effective for boys suffering body dysmorphia, and that the first step is acknowledging that there is indeed a problem. Although studies like these won't serve as a global wake-up call, it's certainly a good start. (The Gloss)

Photo: via @kylekriegerhair.