The top five concerns for men in the UK have been revealed in the STADA Health Report 2024. Though, the term ‘beach body ready’ may be a thing of the past, as the temperatures rise, and the prospect of stripping down to swimming trunks on the beach this summer gets closer, British men seem to be feeling just as much pressure to look good.

The main concern for British men is feeling overweight – a huge 40 per cent of men surveyed, who say they are dissatisfied with their appearance, say their weight is an issue.

The top five body concerns for British men revealed:

  • Feeling overweight (40 per cent)
  • Losing their hair (24 per cent)
  • Feeling unattractive compared to others (24 per cent)
  • Not being tall enough (16 per cent)
  • Having bad skin (13 per cent)

The mental impact of these concerns is evident – one in ten British men (10 per cent) say they have poor mental health and of those, nearly half (45 per cent) say unhappiness with their appearance is a factor.

To try to combat their body concerns, The STADA Health Report’s findings show that men are turning to a number of means of improving their personal wellbeing.

The five most popular actions men are taking to try to improve their health and wellbeing:

  • Exercising at home or at the gym (59 per cent)
  • Eating a healthy diet (59 per cent)
  • Engaging in activities that support mental wellbeing, such as Sudoku (37 per cent)
  • Socialising with friends (29 per cent)
  • Attending preventative health check-ups (27 per cent)

For these men who hate the way they look, one in ten (10 per cent) say they often compare themselves to others on social media. This could be creating unhealthy eating habits, with more than one in ten men (13 per cent) undertaking extreme diets such as intermittent fasting in order to lose weight.

Tom Quinn, director of external affairs, at eating disorder charity Beat, commented on the findings: “Social media often praises certain body types and sizes, which can lead to negative thoughts about body image for those who don’t feel they meet these standards. This can contribute to dangerous eating disorder thoughts and behaviours if someone is unwell with an eating disorder or vulnerable to developing one. While social media can be a positive space for some, harmful health and weight loss advice is very common online, and young people are often exposed to content that can contribute to an eating disorder developing or worsen an existing eating disorder.

“Eating disorders are complex and there are many different reasons why these mental illnesses can develop, including stressful life events such as grief, abuse or the breakdown of relationships. Psychological factors like low self-esteem or perfectionism can also play a part, as well as genetics. Accessing help as soon as possible leads to the best chances of making a full recovery, which is why we urge anybody struggling to speak to a loved one they trust and set up a GP appointment at the earliest opportunity. Charities like Beat are also here to provide advice while you wait for treatment.”

The study has also found that men as well as women are united in their desire to see more regulation on social media, with 71% of those in the UK saying that social media should have greater transparency around filters and editing used on pictures.

If you’re worried about your own or someone else’s health, you can contact Beat, the UK’s eating disorder charity on 0808 801 0677 or beateatingdisorders.org.uk.