Men and Eating Disorders

Men and Eating Disorders

10 million males in the United States will suffer from a clinically significant eating disorder at some time in their life. Source: National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA) Most of the attention about eating disorders and body image focus on women — however, there is a significant amount of men who also struggle with eating disorders or body image issues. Just as the media can set unrealistic standards of beauty for women, it has also been setting up the same ridiculous standards for men.  While women are encouraged to be skinny, men are encouraged to be “cut”, muscular, and lean (take a look at a recent Calvin Klein underwear ad). I’ve noticed a trend regarding actors in action movies – articles will mention how many pounds of muscle an actor put on to play a role, and his strict work out regimen to get a certain look (think Hugh Jackman as Wolverine, or Chris Hemsworth as Thor). Isn’t this just as damaging as focusing on how much weight an actress lost to get a role? Here are some additional statistics about males and eating disorders: STATISTICS FROM NEDA WEBSITE And while prevalence of eating disorders in men is significantly high, there is still a stigma for many men around seeking professional help. Some men may even feel like eating disorders are “women’s issues,” and feel shame in talking about their struggles.  The idea of how an eating disorder effects one’s masculinity is not to be overlooked. I hope that by talking about it more, and bringing this issue to light, more men will feel comfortable asking for the help they need. As...