Parents Beware: Teens and Inflated Body Image Expectations Increase Dangerous Trends

Everyone knows that being a teenager is no walk in the park, but teens today face even more pressure to be perfect than ever before. With social media outlets always challenging teens and preteens to get the most ‘likes’ and followers online, image is what most teens focus on the most when it comes to their attributes. This has led to an alarming increase in laxative or muscle-building substance abuse among male and female teens alike to try to obtain that ‘perfect’ body.

A study on laxative use showed that nearly 11% of women ages 23 to 25 had tried laxatives to use weight, while 12% of young men reported using muscle-enhancing products to gain bulk. This alarming trend is a caution to parents to educate their children about the dangers of doing harmful things to their bodies in the name of image, and an excellent opportunity for them to teach their kids how exercise and eating healthy can make a true difference in how teens feel about themselves.

Unfortunately, the misconception that taking laxatives or muscle-enhancing products will change the body is all teens can focus on. They fail to realize that they are attempting to alter their bodies in ways that are not natural or healthy. If a parent notices their child becoming withdrawn or showing outward signs of weight loss or gain, they should take them to their pediatrician for an examination to ensure they are growing as they should.