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More Men Developing Eating Disorders

November 17th, 2005

Although eating disorder patients are disproportionately women, there are around 1 million men with serious eating disorders, according to the National Eating Disorders Association. The number of men with eating disorders has been growing for the past 10 years, and is partly attributed to changes in media messages, popular culture, and growing pressure for physical perfection among men.

At the 2005 American Dietetic Association conference last month in St. Louis, Sondra Kronberg, director of Eating Disorders Associates Treatment and Referral Center said that at any given time, 25% of men are on diets and 41% are dissatisfied with their weight. The following groups of men are at increased risk for developing eating disorders:

  • Athletes, especially those that participate in sports that work against gravity, such as gymnastics, are the most vulnerable to eating disorders.
  • Men with gender issues.
  • Certain personality traits such as perfectionism, impulsive behaviors, and those who have anxiety.
  • Obese boys who face teasing and have low self-esteem.

Kronberg advises parents to be healthy role models and teach their children how to have perspective and balance. “It is perfectly normal to want to look good, exercise, and eat healthfully.”

The problem becomes evident when the goal to exercise or control food intake takes priority over everything else in one’s life. “An early warning sign is when the desire to improve the quality of one’s life becomes all-encompassing and starts controlling the individual,” she says.

More Men Developing Eating Disorders (WebMD)

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