According to the article: Dr John Morgan from the Yorkshire Centre for Eating Disorders in Leeds says he has seen a huge rise in the number of men suffering from eating disorders like anorexia and bulimia, but for every man admitted to his care, there are ten more who are depressed by the figure which stares back at them from the mirror.
‘We know that 1 in 20 young people suffer from some degree of disordered eating and that at least 15% of them are men and yet that’s a tip of an iceberg,’ he told the BBC.
‘There are men who have problems with compulsive exercise and excessive bodybuilding who have an illness, but we haven’t defined them. Our definitions of illness have been focused on women, rather than men.’
As health professionals worry about increasingly susceptible young women, young men are being overlooked, but Morgan says they can be influenced just as strongly by ‘perfect’ body images projected at them from all angles, and in many ways it is more difficult for them to achieve the six-pack, muscle-bound arms and small waist that’s seen as today’s ideal.
‘It’s completely unhealthy, and to achieve that sort of shape you’ve got to be either working out for hours in a gym, making yourself sick, or taking certain kinds of illegal drugs,’ he says.
It’s unfair, I now see, to assume men don’t deal with the same issues we women face, and seeing it spelled out so clearly really hit hard.
The dangers are equally pervasive for men and women, the effects long-lasting. And for men, it might be even more challenging because body image/disordered eating is possibly even more taboo for men than it is for women.
The truth is, it’s a “we” thing now. Men and women both face disordered eating issues … and we need to work to change the environmental conditions that lead us down that ugly path.
In a way it’s quasi-comforting to know that the other sex isn’t immune, but wouldn’t it be amazing if we could all — men and women alike — find true self-acceptance and body-love?
How about you? Do you know any men with disordered eating issues? Do you think their battles are similar or different than ours?