The prevalence of eating disorders in the male population.
When you imagine someone suffering from an eating disorder, what do you think of? More often than not, people tend to imagine a woman. This may be the typical image seen in the media, but this does not include the many men suffering from eating disorders. About 10 million males in the United States will suffer from a clinically significant eating disorder, that is one that warrants treatment. With that said, this spans more than just those who a suffering from a debilitating eating disorder to simply having everyday body dissatisfaction. Around 43% of men are generally dissatisfied with their bodies. Among adolescent men, 33% are likely to use unhealthy measures to control their weight. Men have a number of factors that lend themselves to be vulnerable to eating disorders. Risk factors include but are not limited to:
- Muscularity in media: Men in the media are often portrayed as lean and “buff”. This specific image of the male body has increased in popularity in the media, creating an almost unattainable body type for men.
- Less likely to get help: Men are less likely to reach out for treatment when they are struggling. Traditional masculine ideals play a large role in a man’s attitude to seeking treatment.
- Sexuality; While only 5%, (five percent) identify as a gay male, among men with eating disorders, 42% (forty-two percent) identify as homosexual.
Eating disorders to not discriminate based on gender. While this is not an easy subject to broach with anyone, society makes this especially difficult for men of any age. If you or someone you know suffers from disordered eating or an eating disorder, please reach out. Our clinical coordinator will be happy to set up an appointment for you or your loved one with one of our many talented clinicians.
All information and statistics for this post are from National Eating Disorder Associations (2012). A silent epidemic?. Retrieved from http://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/silent-epidemic.
This post was written by our own Gillian Sacks, LMSW.