Male Eating Disorder Numbers Show That We Aren't The Only Ones With These Issues
For it being a women's problem, I've sure known a lot of men with eating disorders. Their behaviors have ranged from extreme dieting to compulsive running to taking 'fat-blasting' supplements to just about any other behavior associated with disordered eating and body image issues in females. I don't think eating disorders are as common in men as in women, but I do think they're more prevalent than most people assume. And a new study on eating disorders in young men seems to back this observation up.
For the study, researchers from Boston Children's Hospital collected data on 5,547 boys between 1999 and 2011; all were between 12 and 18 years old at the study's start. They found that about 1 percent of these young men met the partial or full criteria for bulimia, and 2.9 percent for other eating disorders, such as anorexia. Nearly a third said they binged on food and/or purged infrequently 17 percent suffered from body image issues.
These numbers are still way lower than in young girls — studies have found 42 percent of first- to third-grade girls want to lose weight and 35 percent of girls ages 6 to 12 have been on at least one diet. But this isn't a competition. And though there may be less boys and men with eating disorders, those that are struggling face more stigma and have a harder time getting diagnosed. Partly this is because people don't expect men to care about their body size, and partly because eating disorders may manifest differently in guys.
Field also brings up something we women tend to overlook in discussions of Photoshopped models: Dudes get photoshopped, too, guys! Digitally enhanced pecs can have just as much of an impact on men as airbrushed supermodels do for young women.