The amount of teenage boys lifting weights is reaching all time highs with boys as young as middle school pumping iron regularly. The notion you may think when hearing that could be, “Wow the next generation is growing up fit and healthy!”
In reality this might be pretty far from the truth. Of course, lifting weights potentially has a lot of health benefits including, an increase in endorphins, higher self-esteem, and a naturally healthier body.
Despite the health benefits, too much lifting or exercise has been linked to a whole slew of negative health effects, which worsen when supplements or steroids are added to the equation. As a disclaimer, there is a healthy way for all of these things to be used when done responsibly.
The true problems arise when lifting and supplements are used without care or research as we see in many teenage boys lifting today. Excessive lifting and unknown supplements are a dangerous combo with an increasing presence within communities of teenage boys.
Of course, these health effects are dangerous, but not only on the physical side. The mental health of teenage boys has been seriously damaged by this new age of teenage weight lifters. Studies have shown that this desire to lift weights and improve their bodies has been displaying itself as low self-esteem, body dysmorphia, feelings of low self-worth, and unhealthy exercise habits.
A way to understand this physical and mental epidemic comes from knowledge of anorexia. Anorexia is a very serious disorder with a notable variant, anorexia nervosa is an eating disorder in which people have an intense fear of gaining weight, leading to malnutrition if the individual avoids eating.
The other type, bulimia nervosa, is similar but involves the act of bingeing large amounts of food followed by a purging session. These disorders affect at least eleven percent of the teenagers in the U.S. Both of these conditions more heavily affect teenage girls than boys, but the increase in weightlifting by teenage boys has proven this may not be the case in the present.