Unfortunately for men, eating disorders; binge eating disorder, bulimia, and anorexia are all equal opportunity disorders. Here are the 10 myths… and the truth about men and eating disorders, contributed by Leigh Cohn, MAT, CEDS, Publisher of Gurze Books.
Myth: Only females and gay males get eating disorders.
Fact: Eating Disorders are not gender specific.
Myth: Only 10% of ED cases are males.
Fact: More recent studies show that 25% or more of cases are males.
Myth: More gay males have ED than heterosexuals.
Fact: A higher percentage gay males have eating disorders, but overall there are more heterosexual males with eating disorders than homosexual men with eating Disorders.
Myth: Women are more objectified in the media than men.
Fact: Men are sexualized and objectified in all of the same ways in today’s culture.
Myth: Women score higher on eating disorder assessment tests.
Fact: Most assessment test have gender bias that causes males to score lower on some scales. For example, women may want to be “thinner” while men may want to be more muscular.
Myth: Men don’t get bulimia.
Fact: Some men purge through vomiting or laxative abuse, but the more common type of purge is through excessive exercise and fasting which also qualifies a person for a diagnosis of bulimia.
Myth: Women with anorexia nervosa are at greater risk for osteoporosis than males with AN.
Fact: Some studies have shown that males with anorexia nervosa may be at greater risk for bone loss than females.
Myth: Amenorrhea (menstruation stops) occurs in females with anorexia nervosa but there’s nothing comparable for males.
Fact: Most men with anerexia nervosa have lowered testosterone levels.
Myth: Males with eating disorders are ashamed and stigmatized for having a women’s disorder.
Fact: Many men with eating disorders are unaware that they even have an eating disorder! Those in treatment quickly learn that they are not alone and that these are no longer just feminist issues.
Myth: Prevention programs focus equally on males and females.
Fact: Most studied prevention programs focus on girls, but more awareness about male eating disorders is starting to emerge.
For more information about men and eating disorders, Leigh Cohn also recommends The National Association for Males with Eating Disorders, Inc.