Gay and bisexual men may be at far higher risk for eating disorders than heterosexual men, while women seem to be equally affected regardless of their sexual orientation, a new study suggests.
Researchers surveyed 516 New York City residents; 126 were straight men and the rest were gay or bisexual men and women. The results showed that more than 15 percent of gay or bisexual men had at some time suffered anorexia, bulimia or binge-eating disorder, or at least certain symptoms of those disorders -- a problem known as a "subclinical" eating disorder.
That compared with less than 5 percent of heterosexual men, the researchers report in the International Journal of Eating Disorders.
In contrast, sexual orientation did not seem to influence the risk of eating disorder symptoms among women. Just under 10 percent of lesbian and bisexual women had ever had a full-blown or subclinical eating disorder, as had 8 percent of heterosexual women.