New School Program Launched To Raise Awareness Of Male Body Image Issues

Over-exercising & mental health

New School Program Launched To Raise Awareness Of Male Body Image Issues pexels

A new school program has been launched today, focusing on educating teenage boys about body image.

The Butterfly Foundation has kicked off the initiative to counter the view that body image problems are 'just a girl thing', especially with the large number of men over-exercising or using steroids to change their body shape.

Christine Morgan, CEO of the Butterfly Foundation, spoke to the Hit Newsroom about Reset, the new tool to help teachers, school counsellors and parents start a conversation about body image.

"The dangerous part about body image issues for both boys and girls is that it's trying to say that your value as a person is going to be affected by what you look like, and to be more successful in life, you need to look a certain way," Ms Morgan said.

"For boys, this 'has to be' with the ripped, lean look with the six-pack. We know that for this 'ideal shape' there is approximately 0.001 per cent of the population that could naturally achieve that - which means for anybody else striving for it, they have to do fairly drastic things with the food they eat, with the exercise they do, and often with artificial means such as steroids."

Considering Australians are often being reminded of the obesity epidemic, the concept of rigorous exercise may seem on the surface to be a positive step to improve one's health.

However, over-exercising can have a serious impact on both physical and mental wellbeing.

For parents, partners and friends, Ms Morgan gave a few tips on what to look for if it seems like someone's relationship with exercise may be unhealthy.

"Firstly, if it's trying to develop muscle mass which is artificial and just seems too big. Secondly, if it's becoming obsessive - and the mental approach is 'I haven't had a successful day because I haven't exercised'," she said.

"Also the intensity of it - has it stopped being fun? Is it something they're doing because they feel as though they need to be doing it?

"Exercise that is healthy is fun, it's natural. It's moving your body the way it's meant to be moved.

"Exercise that is unhealthy is the opposite of that."

If you're worried about yourself, someone you care about or if you just need to talk, you can reach the Butterfly Foundation on 1800 334 673.

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