Eating Disorders Home > Men With Eating Disorders

Women and men often share the same characteristics when it comes with eating disorders, including low self-esteem and preoccupation with weight. An estimated 35 percent of those with binge-eating disorder are male, and an estimated 6 percent of cases in men will result in death. Many males with eating disorders say that more education is needed to make the public and the medical profession aware of this growing problem so that men don't feel ashamed to seek help.

Can Men Have Eating Disorders?

Though many people associate eating disorders with women, these illnesses also occur in men. An estimated 5 percent to 15 percent of people with anorexia or bulimia, and an estimated 35 percent of those with binge-eating disorder, are male. Furthermore, recent studies have shown that incidence and prevalence rates of eating disorders are increasing among men.

Characteristics of Eating Disorders in Men

Many boys with eating disorders share the same characteristics as their female counterparts, including low self-esteem, the need to be accepted, an inability to cope with emotional pressures, and family and relationship issues.
Eating disorders are most commonly seen in specific subgroups. For instance, men who wrestle show a disproportionate increase in eating disorders -- rates seven to ten times higher than normal. In addition, homosexual males have an increased rate of eating disorders.

What Is the Prognosis?

Eating disorders in men most often surface during the teen years, but in rare cases, men as old as 60 and boys as young as 8 can be affected. In both sexes, the illnesses can lead to lifelong medical and psychological complications. An estimated 6 percent of cases result in death.
Most people find it difficult to halt the behavior without professional assistance. Although some men ultimately seek help, many continue to live with the disorders, often for years, and sometimes for a decade or more.
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Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
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