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Published On: Tue, Feb 2nd, 2016

The Latest Stats on Male Eating Disorders

We live in a selfie-taking world where people are hyper aware of their image. It’s gotten to the point where plastic surgeons attribute this as one reason for the increase in cosmetic surgeries in recent years. It could also explain the rise in male eating disorders.

Traditionally, this has been seen as a women’s issue. But hey, men want to look good too. Sometimes they want to fit into skinny jeans, and sometimes they want to burst out of their sleeves. Whatever the reason, more men are going to extremes to achieve the body of their dreams.

It’s an issue that’s become so huge, doctors and treatment facilities are starting to focus on helping guys fix their nutrition problems. The medical team at Prescott House, a men’s residential addiction treatment and recovery center in Arizona, added a program specifically for eating disorder recovery after encountering numerous patients that struggled with body image issues, anorexia and binge eating. It’s a problem that’s been growing since they opened their doors in 1988.

photo/screenshot Fox video coverage from Staples Center at 2014 Grammy Awards

photo/screenshot Fox video coverage from Staples Center at 2014 Grammy Awards

Medical specialists are reading the latest statistics, which are pretty startling. Working to get a solid physique is one thing, but going to the extreme is destined to fail and will do more harm than good.

10 Million Men Will Have an Eating Disorder at Some Point

Think that eating disorders are just an issue women have to deal with? Think again. Men make up a much larger portion of eating disorders than you’d expect. A 2011 study determined that upwards of 10 million men would have an eating disorder at some point in their lives. They also found that 20 million women would suffer the same.

The biggest problem for men is binge eating. Around 2% have clinically significant problems with the disorder in their lifetime. It was also estimated that 0.5% would battle bulimia and 0.3% would have serious problems with anorexia.

Supplement Eating Disorders Are on the Rise

Supplements, like many things in life, are best in moderation. But more and more guys are taking it to the extreme, and now doctors are classifying supplement overuse as a new eating disorder. After a recent study focused on men who use supplements, researchers made a few striking observations:

  • · Body dissatisfaction is leading to an increase in supplement consumption.
  • · 29% of the guys studied were concerned about how many supplements they were using.
  • · 40% had increased their supplement consumption over time.
  • · 22% used supplements to replace meals.
  • · 8% had been told by their doctors to chill out on the supplements.
  • · 3% were hospitalized for liver and kidney disorders.

We’ve stressed the importance of not overdoing it with supplements. They can help, but they don’t work miracles or replace food. A lot of products will just burn a hole in your wallet anyway with the exception of these three supplements. Morale of the story – find a few supplements that your body actually needs and add them to your daily routine instead relying on them alone.

Mortality Risk from Eating Disorders is Higher Among Men

More women than men have eating disorders, but men are more likely to die from them. A 2014 study concluded that anorexia, in particular, had a higher fatality rate among men.

Gay Men Are at High Risk for Eating Disorders

It could be said that gay men feel pressured about their body image more than straight men – and for whatever reason, the research seems to backs it up. Even though only 5% of men are gay, they make up 42% of the men with eating disorders. They are 12 times more likely to purge and seven times more likely to binge eat.

4-10% of College-Aged Men Have Eating Disorders

When broken down by age group, the National Eating Disorders Association found that 4-10% of college-aged guys are affected by eating disorders. This is a serious increase compared to previous generations. Why? Get this – sexual objectification of men is partly to blame. Like young women that feel the pressure to be sexually desirable, young men are now feeling it more than ever as well.

What all this tells us is that men are feeling the body perfection pressure as much as women these days and eating disorders are a barometer for the change. At the end of the day, going to extremes can’t be sustained. It will put your body through the wringer, which makes it even harder to get the body you want using healthy, sustainable methods.

Guest Author: Ravi Kumarr Gupta

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