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Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Teen Boys Concerned About Body Image

Body image plays a huge role in the life of teenagers; arguably, how one perceives the way people see “you”, is one of the most important things to a teenager. Concerns about body image are mostly associated with girls, but, in fact there are many teenage boys who struggle with their body image, often leading to unhealthy coping mechanisms. Researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health have found that a number of teenage boys turn to drugs and alcohol to deal with concerns about their body image.

Research has shown that 17.9 percent of teenage boys were overly concerned about their weight and physique. The concern would often lead to risky behaviors, including binge drinking and drug use.

“Our findings show that there are males out there who are extremely concerned with their weight and shape, and they may be doing really unhealthy behaviors to achieve their ideal physique,” said lead researcher Alison Field to HealthDay. “But they are not trying to get thinner, they’re using products to help them be bigger.”

Unhealthy concerns about muscularity would lead to the use of supplements, those who used such products were found to be twice as likely to start binge drinking and using drugs.

“Clinicians may not be aware that some of their male patients are so preoccupied with their weight and shape that they are using unhealthy methods to achieve the physique they desire, and parents are not aware that they should be as concerned about eating disorders and an excessive focus on weight and shape in their sons as in their daughters,” Field said in a news release.

The study was conducted of more than 5,000 teen boys, research showed that 2.4 percent were very concerned about their muscularity. The concerned group used growth hormones or steroids to enhance their physique.

 The results are published in JAMA Pediatrics.
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