Each day this Men’s Health Week, we're putting the spotlight on real issues facing men and give some real advice on how to make a difference. Today, lets talk 'Body Image'.
Your body image is what you think you look like, not what you actually look like. However, it would seem too many blokes are seeing the wrong in the mirror.
Around one in four Australian men in the healthy weight range believe themselves to be fat, while 17 per cent of men are on a weight loss diet at any given time. Even more concerning to health experts is the fact 68% of boys have been on a diet of some kind before the age of 17.
The latest research estimates a massive increase in men who are unhappy with their bodies, to 45 per cent, compared with only 15 per cent some 25 years ago.
Why are we so worried?
Psychologist Louise Adams says "there's stigma and prejudice about being in a larger body in our culture, and it’s really doing damage to men”.
Just as for women, there are a multitude of reasons men can develop body image concerns: being teased about appearance, peer pressure, family factors, and of course the media.
There’s no denying how TV and billboards focus on males these days who as much more slender and toned. Male bodies now seem to be sexually objectified in the same way which was identified as a problem for women for many years.
A desire to fit the image portrayed on billboards of the ideal masculine image of lean muscularity means many blokes are over-exercising and using dangerous and illegal drugs, like steroids.
"Unless men are ripped or cut, burning the body fat, they’re made fun of, ridiculed with fat guy jokes” Adams said, "When you throw in this idea that heavier men are unhealthy men, that increases the prejudice as well”
The truth is, the physiques portrayed on so many billboards are almost impossible for most men to achieve.
The expert advice is simple guys, we need to tune into those who care about us, and accept compliments from them. That said, we should also feel encourages to set goals associated with exercise for health, fitness and fun to improve how we feel about our bodies.