Over half of all men show signs of body dysmorphia, study suggests

‘We need to get rid of any idea that there is a limited set of body image ideals that men aspire to’

CW: Body dysmorphia, eating disorders

54 per cent of men show signs of body dysmorphia according to a new study conducted by leisure operator Better.

These signs include: worrying about whether they are muscular or lean enough, exercising even if they are ill or injured, feeling anxious about missing a workout, or cancelling social plans to maintain a fitness schedule or diet.

Women are still way more likely have lower body confidence than men. 42 per cent of women said they rarely or never feel body confident compared to just 23 per cent of men.

The study also found that men were far less likely to spread messages about body positivity than women.

Better went through the top 1,000 posts on Instagram with the hashtag #bodypositivity and found that 83 per cent of the posts were made by, or featured, women.

A further 21 per cent of men admitted to having commented negatively on someone else’s appearance in comparison with just eight per cent of women.

Sam Thomas is a writer and mental health advocate who has experienced eating disorders and body image issues. “More education and awareness are key so that the current and future generations don’t become adversely affected by what they see and how it makes them feel,” Sam says.

“There’s nothing wrong with men wanting to become body confident and we need to celebrate men’s bodies – in all their diversity. But first, we need to get rid of any idea that there is a limited set of body image ideals that men aspire to.”

Just checking in is an article series by The Tab running alongside Men’s Health Awareness Month and beyond. The series aims to shed light on issues that predominantly affect men.

If you or someone you know has been affected by this story, please speak to someone like Beat, an eating disorder charity with a helpline open 365 days a year.

You can also contact Samaritans on 116 123 at any time. You can also contact Anxiety UK on 03444 775 774, Mind on 0300 123 3393, and Calm (Campaign against living miserably, for men aged 15 to 35) on 0800 58 58 58.

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• Just nine things men say to get you to stop asking questions about how they *really* are