Recently, the FitSugar pages were filled with posts on eating disorders for National Eating Disorder Awareness Week and here is an unfortunate follow up — the number of men suffering from eating disorders is on the rise. Seems eating disorders are not just for the ladies anymore.
Harvard researchers reported the results of the first national study of eating disorders and in a population of nearly 3,000 adults they found that 25 percent of those with anorexia or bulimia and 40 percent of binge eaters were men. Researchers were surprised by the numbers since previous studies estimated the numbers closer to around 10 percent.
Experts believe that males are becoming more vulnerable to social pressures to achieve the perfect male body - the ultimate "six-pack" abs. Men are often reluctant to admit they have an eating disorder because they feel it is a woman's problem. Additionally they do not like to admit that they feel out of control around food. However there are a few celebrities that have spoken publicly about their problem. Dennis Quaid sought treatment for his disorder after losing 40 pound for a movie role - in fact I believe he helped coin the phrase "manorexia." Billy Bob Thorton has battled with anorexia and lost 59 pounds, while Elton John has divulged that he suffered from bulimia.
Hopefully, as more attention in the press is paid to the growing number of men afflicted with eating disorders those suffering will seek help. And women too. "Be comfortable in your genes" was the motto of National Eating Disorder Awareness Week and I hope these men and women with eating disorders can.