THERE was a time when teenage boys would have wanted only to be able to play football like David Beckham. Now it seems they would rather look like him.
A survey of 2,000 young males with an average age of 15 has found that they agonise about their appearance just as much as teenage girls.
Influenced by the media images of male celebrities adored by women, they crave the winning smile of Brad Pitt or the six-pack of Beckham.
A quarter of teenage boys would consider plastic surgery to try to match the looks and physiques of their celebrity idols, according to the study published today.
Around 84 per cent believed a better body would improve their life. They said pressure from girls (42 per cent), celebrity pictures (28 per cent) and comment from other men (24 per cent) had fuelled loss of self-confidence.
If that were not enough to undermine the traditional image of the Englishman, almost threequarters said they would use fake tan, hair dye and moisturiser.
The study was commissioned by weekly teenage magazine Sneak, whose editor.
Michelle Garnett, said: 'Teenage boys are now as obsessed with their bodies as girls. It's the "Beckham body beautiful" effect.
'Boys are comparing themselves to celebrity male role models well known for their fabulous physiques and who trade on their good looks.
'It hasn't escaped teenage boys how much "pecs appeal" stars like Beckham have. The attention they get from girls is ultradesirable.' The survey found that only 13 per cent of teenage boys were happy with their bodies, with the most common cause for complaint the lack of a muscle-bound chest and bad teeth - a worry for 68 per cent.
Many were also unhappy with their legs (68 per cent), arms (67 per cent), bottom (65 per cent), penis size (64 per cent), face (62 per cent) and hair (49 per cent).
The most commonly coveted surgical procedures were liposuction, penis enlargement and a nose job.
More than three- quarters said they have been depressed about their looks, six out of ten claimed they worry about their body size and shape at least twice a week, while 28 per cent said they had concerns every day.
COPYRIGHT 2005 Solo Syndication Limited