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Study Shows that Eating Disorders Among Men are on the Rise

male anorexiaA new study conducted by the United Kingdom’s National Health Service showed that the rate of men with eating disorders had increased by 16% over the last year. And while it is a huge jump, it only hints at the real number of men who might suffer from an eating disorder.

By their very natures, eating disorders are secretive and guilty. Individuals that suffer from eating disorders like anorexia or bulimia become very adept at hiding their disordered eating habits from other people, and because of the stigma attached to having an eating disorder, many men feel doubly ashamed for having one. Because they are more commonly associated with women, having an eating disorder might seem unmanly or feminine to some men. This can cause certain men to keep their disorders a secret from their friends and family.

The National Health Service hopes that the new statistic will lead to more tolerance and awareness in regards to men with eating disorders. A spokesperson for Beat, a British eating disorder charity, believes that the statistic is inaccurate, however. Because very few men seek treatment for eating disorders, they believe that the actual number is actually much higher. The NHS believes that as more and more people become aware of the prevalence of eating disorders in men, more men will identify themselves as having anorexia or bulimia (or any of the other eating disorders such as binge eating) and seek help. As data has been collected, more and more men have been seeking treatment. Over the past decade, Britain has seen a 66% increase in men coming into hospitals for eating disorder treatment, which many people bring back to pressures due to social networking and images of men in the media.

As more doctors become aware of the rise in eating disorders for men, the NHS hopes that more men will be diagnosed and seek proper treatment. Identifying eating disorders early leads to shorter recovery times and a higher possibility that the individuals will have a better relationship with food and their own self-perception after treatment.

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