Men have never been considered to be potential victims of any possible eating disorders in the past. Namely, many surveys and studies from the 1990s claimed how only up to 10% of all eating disorder cases are related to men. Yet, recently, the odds have changed and it was scientifically proven that in every 3,000 adults, one quarter are men with eating problems while 40% of all binge eaters were male as well. This sheds a whole new light on the subject and shows us that males are quite susceptible to eating disorders, contrary to common beliefs.
In the year 2000, science came up with more interesting results as Dr. Arnold Andersen from Iowa University found that men are more likely to develop an eating disorder and that most of the osteoporosis patients with eating problems are male. Also, it was found out that males and females suffer from eating disorders in a different manner. Basically, men do not focus on their weight that much, concentrating solely on the shape of their body, predominantly the arms and the torso, commonly neglecting lower parts of their bodies. Additionally, while women have long-term fitness and body figure goals, men usually focus on shaping their body for a single event such as a sports competition etc. All the factors affect the eating habits of the two sexes differently.
The Sexism behind Eating Disorders
Interestingly enough, one of the main diagnosis factors for anorexia is menstrual irregularity, being completely female-oriented. Furthermore, the fear of gaining weight belongs to the common factors for this eating disorder too, not being connected to males in a vast majority of cases. However, males too can be anorexic, wanting to achieve a specific body figure, either too slim or too muscular. Also, males tend to get obsessed about their body mass index, regarding sports and physical activities they take up. Thus, their phobias about gaining weight stem from their desire to achieve more athletically.
In order to take the upper hand athletically, men are prone to taking steroids or overdo their exercise routines, living unhealthy and indulging into malnutrition. Moreover, men who are into boxing, wrestling or some martial arts tend to focus on their body mass and strength, accepting some very strict diet regimes only to obtain the body they desire, potentially developing eating disorders along the way.
Researches have shown that not all males focus solely on a physical shape. Namely, homosexual males tend to pay attention to their weight per se, rather than on the shape of their body. Their culture demands males to be extremely fit, leading to anorexia and other eating disorders in many cases.
Finally, men can be binge eaters in up to 40% of cases, rarely admitting that they have a problem due to their pride and their reluctance to be considered feminine.