Norwich, United Kingdom (PressExposure) August 20, 2009 -- In recent years there has been an increasing awareness of male sufferers from anorexia, bulimia and body dysmorphic disorder, and of the fact that many of these men are not diagnosed accurately. The problem is exacerbated by men's reluctance to consult a doctor and explain their symptoms, particularly where body image is concerned.
While some women are overly concerned with losing weight to look like runway models, men are more likely to set their sights on achieving a very muscular, toned physique. It's obviously good to do regular exercise to stay fit and healthy, but problems arise when the gym becomes an obsession, as it can for some men. Men are also less likely to use a healthy diet plan to lose weight, and may be tempted to use anabolic steroids to change their body shape.
Media images are at least partly to blame. Film actors and models featured on magazine covers are often muscular and free of fat, making men feel they need to live up to this ideal. But while everyone can and should aim for fitness and health, it's important to remember that body shapes and types do differ from individual to individual. For some men, achieving the famous 'six-pack' stomach may simply not be possible.
Fortunately, not all male models in magazines or television have the "bodybuilder" look, and there are plenty of opportunities for men with a more natural, "average" shape. "More and more advertisers are trying to find a model that people can really connect with," points out Damian O'Connor of Models Direct. "They know that by reflecting their audience more accurately, they will generate much more empathy than they would by using conventional models."
Hopefully the use of more natural models, both male and female, will help to improve the way people perceive their bodies - and encourage more men to seek help if they feel their focus on the "body beautiful" has got out of hand.