Men Gladly Exchange One Year of Life for Perfect Body


A study commissioned by the Central YMCA, the Succeed Foundation and the University of West England‘s Center for Appearance Research in Bristol found that 48 percent of gay male respondents would exchange a year or more of their lives in exchange for a perfect body.

Even more telling: 10 percent of those men would agree to die more than 11 years earlier if they could have their ideal body right now.

We have known for a long time that the male gaze has produced body image issues, and we now see this through the eyes of this study.  A total of 384 men, a quarter of whom identified as gay, were reportedly surveyed as part of the poll, with an average age of 40.  Overall, only 35% of all men would trade away a year or more, but the figures jumped dramatically when only isolating the gay sub group.

Researchers point to popular depictions of gay men in media as a reason for this discrepancy.  Gay men are under extreme pressure (as are women) about their bodies.  A lack of diversity in body image and body depiction can contribute to the record numbers of men who are undergoing cosmetic surgery, buying exercise equipment or taking steroids.

More than 80 percent of men regularly discuss body shapes, with 59 percent admitting that doing so makes them feel worse about themselves.  Fat talk among men, as well as among women, is also an issue. “Beer belly,” “man boobs” and “chubby” were among the most commonly used phrases by men discussing their own bodies as well as how other men look.  The words associated with an envied body type are “six pack” and “ripped.”

Indeed, beer bellies are the biggest concern among the 384 men, followed by muscle level dissatisfaction in the upper body. A whopping 18% said they feel fat everyday, with the same percentage saying they are afraid of gaining weight on a daily basis.

Dr. Phillippa Diedrichs led the study.  She explains: “This research really demonstrates that body image is an issue for everyone, and that we need to take a collaborative approach towards promoting an environment that values diversity in appearance and promotes healthy body image.”

Amen, Sister!


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Photo credit: wcm111

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Lynette B.
S.L. B.2 years ago

This is a better article about unhealthy belly fat (visceral fat):

Lynette B.
S.L. B.2 years ago

Hartson, the article isn't about getting fit/losing weight because of legit health/aging issues, it's really about increasing numbers of men adopting the same kind of unhealthy body image issues that women have been for years (in both cases I'd argue the cosmetics & advertising industries are largely responsible).

Anyway, as far as beer bellies go, too much fat around the midriff is actually 'unhealthy' (it's called "visceral fat").* I know from first-hand experience that *green tea* works wonders in reducing belly fat (accidentally actually, a couple years back when I was trying to reduce my coffee intake/caffeine addiction). Apparently it works best if you drink it with a bit of lemon juice and a dash of cayenne pepper (I still added milk & honey, and lost belly fat anyway).

*More info at

Kynthia R.
Kynthia R.3 years ago

Re; The photo accompanying this article. I'm a woman and he has bigger breasts than I do ! There is something wrong with C cup "Moobs"

Hartson Doak
Hartson Doak3 years ago

Ok. I am an over weight older man. I have tried for years to loose the beer belly. I have failed. I eat less and exercise more. NOTHING. I have skipped lunch and still nothing. If I had the opportunity to loose 35 to 50 pounds AND live healthfully with good health and energy, I would willingly give up a few years on this plain of existence. I am watching many of my friends being overcome with lost teeth, Alzheimer, Parkinson's, cancer, etc. If by giving up a few years here to avoid that, is not worth it, then I do not understand . Why would anyone want to go through aging issues if they could be avoided.

Ellen Mccabe
ellen m.3 years ago

While i can appreciate the work it takes to keep in shape, these muscle bound narcissists that can't get out of their own way take it to a level i find unattractive to say the least.
And that goes for the women who do it also.

Eternal Gardener
Eternal Gardener3 years ago

Eehhh? And that pumped up creep is the example for a healthy body???

Sarah M.
Sarah M.3 years ago

It is good to know that women aren't the only ones suffering from body-image issues because of society, but know one should be made to feel inadequate.

Charli Stubbs
Charlotte S.3 years ago

There is no perfect body. Everyone has things they dislike about their bodies. Better to be healthy then to have the perfect body. I spent years dieting myself and over exercising just to be thin and what I did was diet myself to the point I destroyed my metabolism. the doctor told me I dieted myself to the point my body thought it was starving so no matter how little I ate it put the calories into fat.

Debbie L.
Debbie Lim3 years ago

Don't complain if you don't put any effort into it. If you want a nice body then work for it. Anybody can have one, it just needs time and discipline.

Ryder W.
Ryder W.3 years ago

just eat healthy foods and'll get the perfect body AND a longer life.