Body shaming can be a health risk for teenagers

Body shaming is one of the biggest problems in today’s young generation and has become a problem for both genders as body image goes deeper than just making somebody feel bad in the moment. It also makes them feel ashamed about their body

Body shaming can put teenagers at the health risk, inform doctors

Today’s young generation does not see wrong in expressing their opinion. That is true, but shutting out anyone with a different body type than them is not okay, say doctors.

Body shaming is commonly seen in both girls and boys. Girls in their teens want to look thin and boys want to join the gym and are very much particular about their looks. Any deviation from that is abnormal for them. If anyone is on the heavier, darker or a thinner side then they are subjected to bullying, being ridiculed and made fun of. Other obsession is finding a companion at that age. That gives a massive blow to their self-esteem, cause depression, anxiety and suicidal thoughts, aggression and body dysmorphic disorder. Every week I see 2-3 cases of body shaming. I have seen teenagers who have undergone 4-5 cosmetic procedures and are still not happy with the way they look,” informed Dr. Avinash De Sousa, consultant psychiatrist, Founder Trustee Desousa Foundation

Negative, critical, or humiliating comments about appearance can come from anyone including family members. A self-image can keep a person from participating in activities and put their health at risk said doctors.

Dr Sagar Mundada, youth wing President, Indian Medical association (IMA) – Maharashtra Chapter explained, “Teenage is the age when you start paying attention to their body. Many teenagers think that anything shown less then what is being portrayed to them through various media is mediocre. So if you wind a person who is overweight, think that he might be having some physiological problem.  I have seen many cases of teenage girls admitted with nutritional deficiencies – anorexia, bulimia and taking laxatives to keep their weight under control. They are also prone to infections. Also, negative body image also results in increased substance use. So there should be awareness about on body shaming.”

Women are more conscious then men and verbalise more than men, tell doctors. “I had a patient who was very short and she had European friends, who were tall and beautiful. Due to this, she was ashamed as in the group, as they would stand out. This caused her depression. So if you feel you are overweight take efforts to lose weight.  Enhance your self-esteem, if you are good in arts, up your skills, instead of looking at the physical attribute,” said Dr. Parul Tank, consultant psychiatrist at Asian Heart, Mumbai and Fortis Hospital who is also the head of psychiatry department at Rajawadi Hospital.

We should not be body shaming. We should be motivating, supporting, and encouraging each other. Until everyone realizes that, body shaming will continue to be an issue. “Models in the magazines are shown with a perfect figure, which leads to body image disturbances.  It further leads to stress. Body shaming is an issue that will not be solved unless everyone learns how to accept their own body. So don’t compare yourself with others, as everyone has a different body type. So seek medical help and counselling to overcome it,” advised Dr. Heena Merchant Pandit, consultant psychiatrist and assistant professor in department of psychiatry, KEM Hospital.