Are teens risking their health to bulk up?
Hollywood heroes and Marvel superheroes are the type of people that teens today are idolizing. The common perception is that it’s more of teen girls and women who have eating disorders but apparently, teenage boys suffer from these as well.
Spurred on by the idealized body images in the media and on social media, teenage boys have been taking to unhealthy means to bulk up. Their “disordered eating behaviors" comprised eating to gain weight besides taking supplements or anabolic steroids to increase muscle or body size. In a survey across the USA, encompassing 15000 young people, it was found that nearly 7% of young men had taken a supplement to gain weight or build muscle, and 3% had used steroids to build mass. Steroids can turn out to be dangerous and so can certain supplements.
Unregulated supplement market
Supplements are very easy to lay hands on and one can even easily order them online. Since they are not regulated by the US Food and Drug Administration, there’s no guarantee about what you may get in them. Therefore, these can at times prove to be dangerous.
Parents need to watch out for risky behavior from teen boys. One of these is eating a diet that’s so restrictive, it completely cuts out fats and carbohydrates. Compulsive weighing of the body and obsessing over appearance is also worrying. Working out for an hour or so a day is perfectly fine but working out for four to five hours or more is definitely cause for concern.
Teen boys more prone to these issues are those who are depressed, underweight, those with lower body mass score, those into alcohol and so on. Parents must have an open stream of communication with this vulnerable age group and clearly define what’s right and what’s not. Parents, teachers and coaches play a key role in identifying harmful behaviors. Keep a watch.