Washington D.C.: Majority of Instagram posts show men with low body fat, while only a small fraction depicted men with high body fat, suggests a recent study based on men's image on the photo-sharing platform.
The study found that 62 per cent of posts showed men with low body fat and 41 per cent showed high muscularity, whereas only 6 per cent showed men with high body fat and 17 per cent showed low muscularity.
Men with both low body fat and high muscularity (35 per cent) represented the largest group with a specific body type. It was published in the journal Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking.
"Male Body Image Portrayals on Instagram" was co-authored by Thomas Gultzow, Francine Schneider, and Ciska Hoving, Maastricht University, Netherlands, and Jeanine Guidry, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA. The researchers reported that exercise was the most frequently shown behaviour.
Furthermore, the number of likes and comments was significantly related to body composition, and the number of responses increased with decreasing levels of body fat and increased levels of body muscularity.
"Based on Albert Bandura's Social Cognitive Theory, body image pictures on Instagram may, through positive modelling, help to counteract the obesity epidemic, with the portrayals leading men to lead more healthy lifestyles," says Editor-in-Chief Brenda K Wiederhold, PhD, MBA, BCB, BCN, Interactive Media Institute, San Diego, California and Virtual Reality Medical Institute, Brussels, Belgium.
"On the negative side, the skewed images may lead to male body dissatisfaction, depression and eating disorders. We can use this knowledge to educate our patients about the false sense of reality often portrayed on social media," adds Wiederhold.