Study: 16 Percent Increase in Men with Eating Disorders
New data from the NHS shows a shocking rise in the number of men with eating disorders (ED’s). Over the last year, there has been a 16% increase in the number of men and boys admitted to the hospital for eating disorders. While this is a huge jump, it may only hint at the true number of men suffering from an ED.
By its very nature, disordered eating is a secretive and guilty practice. Sufferers develop an unhealthy relationship with food over time and often go to great lengths to hide the symptoms of their condition. In particular, men have a difficult time admitting they have a problem because of the stigma that still surrounds eating disorders. Conditions such as anorexia and bulimia are often seen as a women’s disease and may be labeled “unmanly”.
This negative pressure has forced many men to keep their ED hidden well away from family and friends. Thankfully, new initiatives and awareness are helping create a more tolerant atmosphere.
Mary George, a spokesperson for the eating disorder charity, Beat said, “We can’t say for sure that there are more men suffering from eating disorders now but there is certainly more awareness which means more are coming forward for treatment.”
As more men seek help for their ED, the true scale of the problem is becoming more apparent. Beat estimates that there are around 1.6 million people in the UK with an eating disorder and around one fifth of them are men. While this is just an estimate, the number of men seeking treatment for disordered eating has been increasing for some time.
Over the last 10 years, the NHS has reported a 66% increase in men being hospitalised for ED’s. Some doctors believe this increase is due to the growing pressure for men to look like the people they see in the media. Other studies have shown social networks may be contributing to the overall rise in eating disorders. They help people compare themselves to their friends and create a society that always has to look good for pictures.Continued on the next page