Eating disorders are typically associated with girls and young women but unbeknown to many, there are millions of men all around the world who are suffering from anorexia and bulimia.
Just last year it was revealed that the number of people in the UK being diagnosed with eating disorders has increased by 15% since 2000. Worryingly, this was more pronounced in males with incidences rising by a shocking 27%.
The muscularity of ideal male body representations in the media has increased dramatically since the 1970s and presents a largely unattainable body type for men. Unrealistic images of what men should look like combined with the fact that men are less likely to seek help for problems means that male eating disorders are becoming a silent epidemic.
Currently, it is thought that 33% of adolescent males are already using unhealthy weight control behaviours and that sadly, a huge 43% of men are dissatisfied with their bodies.
What makes the problem even more worrying is that young men who are suffering are not getting the help and support they need because of the perception that eating disorders only affect women. Researchers from the University of Oxford and the University of Glasgow found that men with eating disorders are being under-diagnosed, under-treated and under-researched.
Some of the responses that the universities received when interviewing men with eating disorders included that they thought eating disorders only affect fragile teenage girls, that it’s something only girls get and shockingly, one man was even told by his doctor to ‘man up’ when he did try to seek help.
As a result of the survey, the researchers are calling for GPs and other professionals such as teachers to play a key role in improving the outlook for men with eating disorders by challenging these common misconceptions.
If you would like more information about eating disorders, the symptoms and treatment available, please feel free to visit our Eating Disorder Treatment page. You can also learn more about eating disorders at our Knowledge Centre.