How TV is fuelling low self-esteem and eating disorders among men
Share this article:
London - If you want a physique like Daniel Craig’s, slumping in front of the box may not seem the obvious way to get it.
But that doesn’t stop male couch potatoes dreaming of looking like on-screen hunks. And their TV addiction may even drive them to the gym.
A study found men who watch a lot of television are the most likely to want a six pack and "V-shaped" torso. They were more likely to choose these attributes when asked to pick their "perfect body" from ten pictures.
This was particularly true for men influenced by what they saw on screen, as they tended to compare their bodies to those of actors.
The findings, published in the journal Frontiers in Psychology, come amid rising insecurity among men about how they look. This can lead to low self-esteem and eating disorders.
Dr Tracey Thornborrow, author of the University of Lincoln study, said: "The more TV men watched, the more they wanted to be muscular. Crucially, how much they believed in what the media was telling them was important.
"If they are faced with six-packs and muscles, they are more likely to buy things like gym memberships, protein shakes and fitness magazines."
Researchers looked at men’s body image in the UK, Uganda and Nicaragua. British men revealed in a questionnaire they watched an average of 21 hours of TV a week, while Ugandan men watched 14 hours and Nicaraguans nine.
They were asked to choose from ten pictures ranging from an overweight man to one with the torso of a bodybuilder. The Britons were far more likely to pick a muscular body as their ideal. They were also more likely to agree with statements such as: "I think my chest is not muscular enough."