Why The Obsession Of A Perfect Physique Is Dangerous
It seems that today more than ever, people have become obsessed with having a perfect physique. This is quite interesting considering that approximately 34 percent of the population is obese. Although it is recommended to want to be your ideal, healthy weight, when does the weight obsession become too much?
With media and advertising in magazines, movies and on television, the importance of a perfect physique seems to be pushed from every angle. It is no surprise that a good majority of the population does not measure up to perfect standards. Appearance plays a huge role in the lives of many people but there are harmful trends that constantly emerge out of striving for that body that everyone wants.
It is obvious that people are obsessed with their appearance when you examine some of the most obvious statistics.
- 42 percent of young girls in grade 1 through 3 report that they want to be thinner.
- Over 50 percent of girls that were studied in the 4th grade wished that they were thinner.
- 82 percent of girls that are 10 years old have a fear of becoming fat. Over half of those same girls have overweight parents.
- Freshman girls believe that the perfect physique for a female would belong to someone who is 5'7”, weighing 105 pounds. Interestingly, this height and weight combination is considered clinically anorexic and dangerous.
- On any given day, nearly half of American women are on a diet and one quarter of men are as well.
- 60 percent of high school girls report that they are on a diet or have dieted in the past year.
Body Dysmorphic Disorder
In the United States, the diet industry is well over a $50 billion industry and it continues to grow everyday. The fact is, if diets actually worked, people wouldn't constantly gain their weight back and try new ones. It is a viscous cycle and 95 percent of dieters gain all of their weight back, if not more, within 1 to 4 years. This is due to a damaged metabolism. People are trying to have the perfect physique when they really should be making lifestyle changes to become healthy so that the pounds come off naturally and at a safe pace.
Many people briefly think about their appearance and how they believe they should look however, for others it is a daily obsession that control their lives. In severe cases, these types of unhealthy concerns can interfere with relationships, school, work and they can cause a significant amount of distress. This common occurrence is called body dysmorphic disorder (BBD).
This condition can disrupt your normal everyday life and cause suffering and depression as well as academic impairment and even social isolation. In extreme cases, psychiatric hospitalization, unnecessary cosmetic surgery and even suicide attempts can be a result.
BBD vs. Anorexia
When many people think of body dysmorphic disorder, they automatically imagine someone who is bulimic or anorexic however, this is not always the case. Even body builders who constantly strive for a perfect physique can have a distorted body image.
They physical risks of body dysmorphic disorder are not as life-threatening as bulimia or anorexia nervosa but they can still be quite harmful. Many people turn to diet pills, stimulants, laxatives and steroids to try to obtain that perfect body image, all of which pose their own list of health risks.
Body Dysmorphic Disorder Symptoms
Having an unhealthy obsession can create a great deal of social problems. Many people have their entire life controlled by this problem. Below are symptoms of someone with perfect physique obsession.
- The person believes that their body is not lean enough, even if it is.
- Excessive attention to diet.
- Hours of daily exercise.
- Impairment in occupational, scholastic or social areas of everyday life.
- Avoids dating.
- Stays clear of situations such as swimming, boating, etc., where their body is exposed.
- Fear of becoming fat.
It is critical for people to become educated on the importance of being healthy, not engaging in a crash diet to be thin. Parents need to make healthier choices for their children and lead by example. Everyone needs to be instructed on the dangers of wanting an unhealthy body image, especially young girls.