A new study has shed light on the risks associated with men’s obsession with achieving the perfect abs, revealing a significantly higher risk of depression among these individuals.
Researchers from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, in collaboration with Harvard University, conducted a comprehensive analysis of male body image disorder and its connection to mental health, providing valuable insights into this concerning issue.
The study findings indicate that men fixated on their bodies face an elevated risk not only of depression but also of engaging in harmful behaviours such as weekend binge drinking and the use of illegal supplements, including anabolic steroids.
Shockingly, the research revealed that 10% of men suffer from body image disorder, perceiving themselves as overweight and desiring a thinner physique.
To arrive at these conclusions, researchers interviewed 2,460 men aged 18-32, delving into their gym habits and mindsets.
Common statements emerging from these interviews included sentiments like feeling guilty for missing a workout, dissatisfaction with chest muscularity, and contemplation of using anabolic steroids.
“The problem arises when the bodies of professional athletes like Ronaldo become the ideal for regular young men who have regular young men who have jobs, studies and family,” Dr. Trine Tetlie Eik-Nes, the lead researcher revealed,
Unrealistic Body Ideals:
Dr. Eik-Nes highlighted the unrealistic expectations placed on men and women in terms of body image.
“Training has to be your full-time job if you want to look like Ronaldo,” he underscored.
Dr. Eik-Nes emphasized that achieving the physique of an athlete like Ronaldo is unrealistic for regular individuals with diverse responsibilities.
“He belongs to one in a thousand of the world’s population who make their living from sports. Some people train as if they were on the national team, but they’re only exercisers.
He also pointed out that narrow ideals, prevalent in today’s society, present challenges for individuals of both genders, perpetuating unrealistic body standards.
“Girls are supposed to be thin and have small waistlines. Boys should have wide shoulders. Those are the narrow ideals that that people grow up with today. This unrealistic body image is challenging for men and women,” he added.