Eating Disorders in Men

Posted by Max Priestley | 12:19 PM

Eating disorders
Eating disorders have mostly been investigated within the female population. To a large extent this is because of the apparent prevalence of eating disorders in women. On closer inspection however gender distributions of eating disorders show about 10 per cent of people with anorexia are men.

Doctors fail to recognize male eating disorders

To date the evidence suggests that the gender bias of clinicians mean that diagnosing either bulimia or anorexia in men is less likely despite identical behavior. Men are more likely to be diagnosed as suffering depression with associated appetite changes than receive a primary diagnosis of an eating disorder.

Eating disorders and occupation

There are a few occupations in which the demand for low body weights can lead to anorexia or bulimia; among them are horse racing, modelling, dancing, distance running and driving.

Cultural, social issues and eating disorder

In part, the hidden problem of eating disorders in men is cultural. Women tend to discuss emotions and psychological problems more than men. Anorexia and bulimia are perceived as a woman's problems. Discussion of weight issues, weight control, linking thinness with beauty are common features in women's magazines and so are eating disorders. Young women can therefore adopt the same behavior without it being seen as too socially unacceptable.

Little recognition male eating disorders

The lack of visibility of anorexia or bulimia in the male world means a number of things. Men do not discuss eating disorders. Men tend not to share the information with other men because the subject is a female issue. Men's beauty has to do with body mass, muscle bulge and definition, not weight loss. This male world, socially defined as powerful and masculine results in men not seeking help because of their reluctance to admit to the problem.

Research into male eating disorders

A large US study of adolescents reported in 1995 does show that significant numbers of young males experiencing problem weight control behavior.
2%-3% of males diet all the time or more than ten times a year

5%-14% of males deliberately vomit after eating

12%-21% had a history of binge eating

A study published in the April 2001 American Journal of Psychiatry found many psychological similarities between men and women with eating disorders, with both groups experiencing similar symptoms.

Getting Help for male eating problems

If you are experiencing problems with weight control you are not alone. Get help by contacting your family doctor, a psychologist, mental health center or a doctor specializing in eating disorders.

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