Teenagers: Body Image & Drunk Driving

This week I found a couple of youth culture stories that I wanted to pass along to parents.

As you know, a great deal of attention has been paid to how entertainment impacts girls’ perceptions of their body image. But movies and magazines can have an unhealthy impact on boys, too.

The latest example of that influence is connected to the recent movie 300: Rise of an Empire. When the original film, 300, came out, an exercise regimen called the 300 workout swept through health clubs—reportedly based on techniques the movie’s stars used to get bulked up for their roles.

And what impact do those images have on impressionable young males?  Time.com reporter Eliana Dockterman says “Ripped male bodies that grace our movie screens have boys thinking they’re inadequate.”

She cites research indicating that a quarter of men today think they’re underweight, and more than half say they feel insecure about their bodies at least once a week.

Some guys spend unhealthy amounts of time working out, use unregulated substances to pack on muscle and even resort to steroids.

Dr. Alison Field, a professor of pediatrics at Boston Children’s Hospital says “Instead of wanting to [do] something unhealthy to get smaller, they’re using unhealthy means to get larger.”

And here’s another study parents should be aware of. Teens who have ridden with drivers under the influence of alcohol or drugs are far more likely to drive while impaired themselves,

Researchers followed students from 10th through 12th grade.  They found that found that if they’d previously ridden with an intoxicated or drug-using driver, they were about 120 times more likely to drive while impaired.

For some practical advice on talking to your kids about this issue, visit the website of Mothers Against Drunk Driving at madd.org.

I’m Bill Maier for Shine.FM.

Listen to today’s audio here.