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The shocking truth about eating disorders and men

September 18, 2012

While it has long been known that the pressure on young women to ‘look good’ puts significant social pressures to bear that can lead to eating disorders, there’s less recognition of how prevalent eating disorders are among men.

According to the Eating Disorders Foundation of Victoria, around 10% of eating disorder cases are male and this is considered to be an undercount. When it comes to binge eating disorders specifically, 50% of cases are male.

What are some of the differences between eating disorders in men and women? Firstly, some of the behaviours that men engage in can mask symptoms of an eating disorder that would be picked up more readily among women. For example:

“Males tend to use excessive exercise to control/manage their weight. Because exercise is encouraged in males, this behaviour might go unnoticed as being a problem.

Binge eating among males is more culturally acceptable than among females. Therefore it is less likely to be noticed despite similar occurrence rates to females.”

One of the biggest barriers to recovery for men with eating disorders is that they often don’t seek help due to stigma. Eating disorders are considered by some to be a female or a gay male problem, whereas in truth eating disorders are defined by control and not gender or sexual orientation.

Early intervention is essential. If you’re concerned about a friend or loved one, or your own eating behaviour, then it’s time to talk.

Call Life Resolutions today on 1300 668 256 to find out how our qualified psychologists can help with eating disorders, or use the email contact form on our website.

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