The image that comes to mind when many people think of an “eating disorder” (ED) is a young female with anorexia or bulimia. But in reality, there is a vast spectrum of ED diagnoses, behaviors, body types, and people who “fit the bill.” The narrow view of the disease that prevails in our society can be extremely harmful, as it often results in a treatable disease going unnoticed.
Posts Tagged ‘Males’
People often think “Eating disorders are a woman’s disease.” This myth is constantly reinforced by character portrayals on television, targeted advertisements, and even studies and articles that draw from exclusively female samples. The sad reality is that eating disorders affect any and all genders, and those who do not identify as female may even suffer more with the very diagnosis of their disease due to the stereotype that eating disorders are feminine. Therefore, although eating disorders affect each individual differently, it is important to consider one’s gender identification in order to increase efficacy for prevention, detection, and treatment of the disease.
Many people still view eating disorders as an illness that exclusively affects women and girls. And it’s not hard to understand why. The media often perpetuates an image of people with eating disorders as white, upper-middle-class females. But in reality, cross-cultural studies show that eating disorders impact people of all genders, ethnicities, ages, and socioeconomic statuses.
Re-posted from Cleveland Center for Eating Disorders (CCED) blog archives. CCED and The Emily Program partnered in 2014.
Males are historically underrepresented throughout the eating disorder field- as patients, treatment professionals, by diagnosis and prevalence, in research studies, and in stories of recovery. 30 years ago men with eating disorders were virtually invisible and options for treatment were mostly non-existent. Fortunately, we are at a tipping point in our understanding of males and eating disorders. While major gaps still exist in our understanding, we are continuously learning more about males with ED.
According to the National Comorbidity Study (Hudson, 2007), lifetime prevalence in ED in men is:
Anorexia Nervosa- 0.3%
Bulimia Nervosa- 0.5%
Binge Eating Disorder- 2%
In this study, over 50% of men also had co-morbidities.
In a study by Striegel-Moore, et al in 2009, over 26% of men in the community had ED symptomatology.