New study highlights increasing prevalence of muscle dysmorphia among Canadian boys, young men – CTV

Feb. 5, 2023

Canadian researchers are drawing attention to the increasing prevalence of “a pathological pursuit of muscularity” among Canadian boys and young men, with a new study that found one in four were at risk of developing what’s known as muscle dysmorphia.

The study, published Jan. 17 in the journal Body Image, said that Canadian health-care professionals “should be alerted” to the high occurrence of muscle dysmorphia (MD) symptoms in this population.

Muscle dysmorphia is the obsession with muscle size and definition, resulting in distress and a “significant drive” for muscularity, the study said. Some symptoms include compulsive exercise, specific dieting to build and maintain muscle, use of appearance-and-performance-enhancing drugs and substances and disruptions to daily life.

“It’s colloquially known as reverse anorexia,” Kyle Ganson, assistant professor at the University of Toronto’s Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work and lead author of the study, told in an interview. “Instead of driving for fitness, there’s an intense drive for muscularity, and generally it’s like bulk muscularity, significant strength, it can be about lean and cut defined features.”

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