Male Eating Disorders On The Rise
Once considered to be a very female issue, the number of men receiving outpatient treatment for eating disorders is rising distinctly in England (according to the BBC) Indeed, the rates or men presenting with eating disorders doubles that of women in the past three years. The number of men presenting has increased 27% as opposed to a 13% increase for women. An even more worrying statistic is that under 18 year old boys made up a third of the number of men treated in 2016. This is opposed to at 13% increase in women.
What do these figures tell us. Well, at least anecdotally, men are feeling the pressure that women feel about having the body beautiful. This being often an unattainable image, fostered by social and regular media as to what people should look like. When people are impressionable, and do not attain this, they may take more radical approaches to achieve this. Eating disorders are one such approach.
It is time for we as a society and a profession to stop messing around with people’s weight and sense of self esteem. Weight is a health issue, not a sound bite for any hack with an opinion to pontificate on. Surely, we should encourage people to be healthy and to come to peace with their body image. The figures above, are evidence enough, that the day of celebrating people who shame fate people MUST come to an end. Organisations which support this barbaric form of abuse should be ashamed. We as practitioners should embrace evidenced based forms of treatment when it comes to weight. Not every nonsensical fad which pretends that reaching a healthy body weight is easy and requires little or no effort.