The Male Minority: The Truth About Males With Eating Disorders

What does a person with an eating disorder look like?

The truth is that anyone of any age, race, or gender can develop an eating disorder. Terms such as eating disorder, disordered eating, and body dysmorphia are usually not associated with men, but they should be. It is estimated that ¼ of people with eating disorders are male. Research suggests that both males and females are equally affected by the same triggers for developing eating disorders and disordered eating behaviours. These exposures include social media sites, comments from friend and families, and participation in athletics or sports.

Eating Disorders and Body Dysmorphia in Men

Male and female eating disorders do not vary in type. Men too, struggle with anorexia, bulimia, and binge eating disorder. Binge eating disorder is the most commonly reported male eating disorder with bulimia and anorexia following up respectively. A large portion of men with binge eating disorder also struggle with obesity. Recent research has also found body dissatisfaction and body dysmorphia to be prevalent in both males and females throughout childhood and into young adult years.

The Stigma of Male Eating Disorders

However, men are less likely to report having a disorder because of the stigma that surrounds males with eating disorders. In fact, men may be put at more risk because people are misled to believe that eating disorders only affect women. In some cases, the stigma against males with eating disorders is so severe that males with eating disorders struggle to find help or are not diagnosed correctly. Studies have also speculated that males might not be aware they have an eating disorder because media and education about eating disorders is targeted to females.

Treatment of Male Eating Disorders

The struggle males have with eating disorders or disordered eating behavior should not be taken lightly or brushed off. It is important to stop the negative stigma surrounding males with eating disorders. The signs and symptoms, both mental and physical, are the same for both males and females, and must be treated with professional help. Our team can help educate and provide you with the support you need to battle negative thoughts and help you create a better relationship with food. Our team at WeightMatters has over 10 years experience treating male patients and are here to help.

Holland, Grace, and Marika Tiggemann. “Review Article: A Systematic Review Of The Impact Of The Use Of Social Networking Sites On Body Image And Disordered Eating Outcomes.” Body Image 17.(2016): 100-110. ScienceDirect. Web. 27 June 2016.
Kirsch, Alexandra C., et al. “Explaining The Pathway From Familial And Peer Social Support To Disordered Eating: Is Body Dissatisfaction The Link For Male And Female Adolescents?.” Eating Behaviors 22.(2016): 175-181. ScienceDirect. Web. 27 June 2016.