Do my moobs look big in this 80 per cent of men are plagued by body hang-ups
Four out of five men regularly talk to family and friends about their image concerns
It's supposed to be women who spend hours agonising over their figures.
But in fact men are plagued by body hang-ups too, a study has found – and four out of five regularly talk to family and friends about their image concerns.
Their biggest worry was a beer belly, followed by lack of muscle tone and ‘moobs’, or male breasts.
More than 35 per cent of men said they were affected by 'negative body talk'
As many Britons are embarking on New Year diet plans to shift the pounds gained over the festive period, a survey of 400 men revealed the majority felt personally affected by ‘negative body talk’.
They reported feeling ‘miserable’ and ‘insecure’ on hearing comments such as ‘look at his beer belly’ and ‘he’s too fat to wear that’ even if it was not directed at them but reinforced their own hang-ups.
And nearly 1 in 5 men said they felt fat every single day, according to the study carried out by researchers at the University of the West of England’s Centre for Appearance Research in Bristol.
The researchers say the findings – among men aged 18 to 70 – challenge the traditional view that body image and exposure to pictures of skinny, air-brushed celebrities are mainly an issue for women or for younger people.
Two-thirds of those surveyed were unhappy with their level of muscularity – either on their arms or chest area.
Ranking their body hang-ups in order, the stomach was the top problem area, followed by their waist, head hair and wrinkles.
Over half of men questioned – 59 per cent – reported that ‘body talk’ personally affected them, mirroring research in women which shows that listening to just five minutes of this can lower body confidence.
One in five straight men said they compared their physique to those of magazine models, athletes and film stars. Above, David Beckham models underwear
More than 35 per cent of the men surveyed said they would sacrifice a year of life to achieve their ideal weight or shape.
One in five straight men said they compared their physique to those of magazine models, athletes and film stars, and one in four said they feel too self-conscious to go to the gym because of fears about their appearance.
Dr Phillippa Diedrichs, of UWE, said: ‘Body talk is saying things which reinforce the traditional standard of male attractiveness, which is having a tall, lean, muscular body with clear skin and a full head of hair, and is for most people unattainable.
‘This research really demonstrates that body image is an issue for everyone, although in men, especially middle-aged men, it has been woefully under-reported, but has a negative impact on social relationships and on attitudes to diet, exercise and a healthy lifestyle.
‘It shows the need for a new approach with celebrates diversity in appearance and a healthy body image.’
Half those surveyed were members of a gym, and one in five was on a high-protein diet, when the study was carried out in November and December, commissioned by the YMCA and eating disorders charity The Succeed Foundation.
Rosi Prescott, Chief Executive of Central YMCA said: ‘The high levels of body talk that we have found in men are symptomatic of a growing obsession with appearance.
‘The fact that one in three men would sacrifice a year of life to achieve their ideal weight and shape is a worrying sign and suggests that men are placing more value on their appearance than on other things, including life itself.’
Karine Berthou, founder of The Succeed Foundation said it showed ‘negative body image is a serious issue in our society and is a key risk factor in the development of eating disorders'.