New research raises concerns about the risk of physical image disorder in men obsessed with the gym

(Image: Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk)

It does not matter how tall or strong you are – bad moods can still hit you hard.

It turns out that men who spend more time in the gym to shape their bodies are at greater risk for mental health issues.

Researchers at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology studied more than 2,400 US men between the ages of 18 and 32 and assessed their fitness habits and body image.

The study used the Drive for Muscularity Scale (DMS), a 15-question survey that measured people's motivation. Participants were asked to say "I wish I was more muscular" and "I feel guilty if I'm missing a weight training session from one (ever) to six (never).

They found that nearly 10% of the men surveyed had a personality disorder and that these men also suffered from depression more frequently.

Those who were obsessed with going to the gym were more prone to risky behaviors, such as alcohol consumption, diets and illegal supplements, and steroids to build muscle.

The main author Dr. Trine Tetlie Eik-Nes says women are on a diet because they think they are overweight, while most men are on a diet because they think they are too thin.

(Image: Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk)

The researchers want their findings to lead us to devote more resources to helping men who struggle with body image disorders.

"The problem arises when the bodies of professional athletes like Ronaldo become the ideal place for young men who have work, study and family life," said Dr. Eik-Nes.

"If you want to look like Ronaldo, you need to be trained as a full-time job. He is one thousandth of the world's population living off the sport.

"Girls should be skinny and have small waists. Boys should have broad shoulders and big muscles, "said Dr. Eik-Nes.

More: health

"These are the narrow ideals with which young people grow up today. It turns out that this unrealistic body image is a challenge for both men and women.

The alarm bells of the parents should go out if they have a teenager who is in the gym every day, just wants to eat chicken and broccoli and constantly consume protein shakes or supplements.

"When it comes to training in their entire world, parents should take the time to talk to them – for example, by asking what they're actually training for."

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