Males have eating disorders too: the data

Updated: Dec 3, 2021

About 10-15% of people with anorexia or bulimia are males, and this figure is probably underreported because males may be ashamed to admit they have an ED. In fact one study of 131 Cornell University football players found that 40% of them had eating disordered behaviors like binging and purging. Men with bulimia tend to use compulsive exercise as their form of purging, which they will call their effort to “stay in shape.”


I personally know males who struggle with eating disorders. It's sad that they are often less able to ask for help because of the stigma against doing so. I believe that in males, eating disorders may often go more undetected because they don't have such an obvious sign (e.g. loss of menstruation) to tell them that their body fat levels are too low.


Males suffer medical consequences from eating disorders, too


Dr. Jennifer Gaudiani's Sick Enough says:


“Males with anorexia nervosa become equally as medically ill and develop the same medical complications as females. A study showed that males who were admitted to the hospital with severely low body weight due to anorexia nervosa manifested a high incidence of starvation-related abnormal liver function tests, low testosterone levels, low vitamin D levels, and a high incidence of bone density loss [...] In sum, male patients may develop any eating disorder, although possibly driven by a different set of body preoccupations. They deserve swift diagnosis and expert treatment.”

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