Growing trends in the pursuit of muscularity: What healthcare professionals should be aware of

Kowalski, Christopher and Leonard, Oscar (2015) Growing trends in the pursuit of muscularity: What healthcare professionals should be aware of. The British Journal of General Practice: The Journal of The Royal College of General Practitioners, 65 (641). pp. 626-627. ISSN 1478-5242 Full text available

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The psychological and physical repercussions of body image concerns in women will be familiar to many healthcare professionals. There is, however, massing evidence that body image dissatisfaction in men is increasing, with more and more adolescent boys reporting feeling unhappy with their physique.1,2 Lack of muscular development is the commonest concern and greater numbers of men are turning to body-building practices in an attempt to achieve their body ideal. Rates of gym membership in the UK continue to increase, perhaps reflecting this preoccupation, with 8 million people belonging to gyms or leisure centres in 2014.3 Although gym-going and body-building in general have significant health benefits, there is a proportion of individuals who engage in the pursuit of muscularity to a degree that may compromise their wellbeing. This may take the form of significant impacts on physical health but may also manifest as psychological distress or ill health. Physical health risks are often mediated by the adoption of harmful associated practices. These include pharmacological abuse and restrictive and unhealthy dieting. Even the use of nutritional supplements may have risks. Individuals partake in these activities to varying extents, but many will have specific healthcare needs that should be recognised by health professionals.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Also available via PubMed Central
Uncontrolled Keywords: Body Image
Subjects: Children, Young People and Developmental Pyschology > Adolescents- Psychology
Disabilities & Disorders (mental & physical) > Eating Disorders
Subconscious & Unconscious, Personality > Self Concept/Identity
Department/People: Children, Young Adult and Family Services

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