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Manorexia: Eating Disorders in Men

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.


Join The Conversation
joyofadventure joyofadventure 10 years
i know someone, i went to high school with him actually, who i recently saw and in six months he had lost almost half his size! i think its horrible what he is doing to himself, he wasnt that mush overweight in the first place, and i have clinically overweight since childhood...
krisua krisua 10 years
What??? 40% percent??? This MUST be talked about more!!!
SaraSmile SaraSmile 10 years
I hate the term "manorexic." True, anorexia in men manifests itself differently, but the disease is still basically the same in both sexes. Instead, we insist that EDs are a female problem, and men suffer in silence. Stupid, really.
Fitness Fitness 10 years
Celiac disease can be really intense with weight problems (I feel for your husband) and I was unaware the Billy Bod had that. In interviews about his "anorexic" period he spoke of how he gained a lot of weight for one movie roll and then decided he needed to be thin for his next role. This scenario prompted his eating disorder. It seems like Dennis Quaid's experience was the same.
miss-matilda miss-matilda 10 years
I just want to speak up on behalf of Billy Bob. He is reported to having Celiac disease which is an autoimmune disease which can lead to not being able to absorb your nutrients in food. So he could very well have been a celiac that when undiagnosed so long that his intestines were in complete atrophy and makes it extremely hard for him to keep weight on. My husband also has this disease and the weight problem. It is very common in celiac to be very thin.
misstsapinay misstsapinay 10 years
It's horrible to think it, but ED's do effect everyone. It's how our society is...Thin is in, or so they say =/ I know a guy who had/has an ED and he abused laxatives. He had to have his colon removed and now has to wear a bag. So sad.
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