Nearly half of under 20s would rather work out at the gym than have sex, according to new research.
But is this enthusiasm for working out really evidence of a healthy attitude to exercise or a sad manifestation of body obsessed youth?
Peer pressure has always played a part in teen trends, but multi platform marketing puts young people under supreme pressure to conform – and that means emulating their role models by aspiring to the same labels and looks. But just how far teens will go to ape their heroes is surprising to say the least – sacrificing sex for sets at the gym is the least of it.
“The study also reports that almost a fifth of young people would do anything for the perfect body.”
And that’s a concern says Dominic Swift, nutritionist at Supplement Centre:
“It’s worrying that some teens are so body conscious. But it’s worth remembering that most teens, 80%, would not do anything for the perfect body. Working out fosters both self confidence and a sense of well-being, promoting a healthy relationship with your body, and that can only be a good thing.”
It seems Dominic has a point. The report also shows some distinctly healthy habits among Britain’s youth, trends that offer a stark contrast to some of the ways young people are commonly portrayed in the media.
You thought fussy eating teens love nothing better than lounging on the sofa, playing X-Box and chowing down on sugar and fat-loaded junk food? Think again.
“A staggering 100% of the teens who responded to the questionnaire reported that given the choice between a burger and fries and a session at their local gym – they’d go for the gym every time.”
Added to this is a startling piece of evidence from the report that shows that far from being the next binge drinking generation, given the choice, young people would rather take good care of their bodies.
“Of those surveyed, just 3% would rather go for a drink than hit the gym.”
Think that’s strange given the ample reporting of our overweight, junk food munching, drunken youth? Well perhaps that picture isn’t a true reflection of what’s really happening.
A recent government report shows that obesity – and infact all negative lifestyle factors – are most prevalent in the poorest income groups. That poses an interesting question: Given young people’s enthusiasm for exercise shown by our survey, if youths from poorer backgrounds had access to affordable gyms and healthy food outlets, would they adopt the same healthy lifestyle choices as their more affluent counterparts? Our report certainly seems to suggest that they might.
Young people have always been influenced by what they see, hear and read about in the media. Our celebrity obsessed culture means the pressure to look a certain way can be overwhelming. But what’s clear is that today’s teens are also taking healthy living seriously, and that can only be a good thing. But there’s still one thing that confuses us…
Half of them prefer the gym to having sex? All we can say is – they’re not doing it right!