Peer Reviewed
Men's health

Keeping pace with the growing problem of male eating disorders

Scott Griffiths, Stuart B Murray, Stephen Touyz

Men can and do develop eating disorders, and the prevalence of extreme dieting and purging has increased faster among men than women. As well as anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa and binge-eating disorder, men are affected by muscle dysmorphia and other muscularity-orientated eating issues.

Key Points

    Despite a public perception to the contrary, men can and do develop eating disorders. Studies have shown that males may account for approximately 25% of cases of anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa and 33% of binge-eating disorders (US data), and 25% of early-onset eating disorders in preadolescent children (Australian data).

    Alarmingly, these figures are set to rise. Data from a cross-sectional survey of 3000 adults in Australia conducted in 1998 and again in 2008 showed that the prevalence of extreme dieting and purging increased faster among the men than the women. The prevalence of strict dieting or fasting, purging and binging more than doubled among men in Australia between 1995 and 2005. Stated plainly, the problem of eating disorders in males is going to get worse before it gets better.

    Picture credit: © Punkle/Dollar Photo Club. Model used for illustrative purposes only.

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