Body image is not only an issue for young women as a new study has found that men with poor body image often suffer in silence.
Researchers at the University of Sydney in the first large-scale study into male body image have found that men with bodybuilding and other body image issues are up to four times more likely than females to be undiagnosed.
‘Muscle dysmorphia or bigorexia is a condition that most commonly affects males, and is a type of obsessive compulsive disorder wherein the individual is obsessed with his muscle size and develops a deep desire to develop very large muscles.’
AdvertisementWhile many more women among the 2000 respondents were dissatisfied with their bodies, the study also found men with image issues suffer more psychologically.
They were at high risk of extreme dieting and purging, and were far more likely to suffer depression.
The data, published in the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health, suggests the use of anabolic steroids, which is strongly linked to male body dissatisfaction as well as eating disorders and muscle dysmorphia, or "bigorexia", is increasing.
Lead researcher Dr Scott Griffiths says the problem is exacerbated by the stigma associated with males suffering from what tends to be seen as a female problem.
"Men report feeling less worthy if they need to ask for help," Dr Griffiths said. Men often find it hard to speak out about their body image issues because of the "stiff upper lip" mentality in Australia.
Dr Griffiths says more community awareness and targeted intervention programs for men are needed to address this "growing health issue".