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Men Get Eating Disorders Too

By Therese J. Borchard

Ginger Emas has written an interesting piece about men and eating disorders. It piqued my interest because a friend of mine once asked me if she should be concerned about her son’s eating habits. He counted calories, stayed away from sweets, and was a tad obsessive about a healthy diet. I told her not to sweat it, buying into the cultural myth that boys don’t get eating disorders. Now I know they do. To get to Ginger’s original article on ShareWIK, click here. I have reprinted it with permission below.

Usually when we talk about body image issues, we’re talking about girls. But did you know that more than one million boys and men struggle with eating disorders? More than 80 percent of 10-year-olds are afraid of being fat. More than 10 percent of middle school boys have used steroids. These are boys who don’t understand why they should brush their teeth every night; how can they possibly understand the repercussions of starving or using steroids?

Studies today suggest that body image is deeply affected by the media — television shows and movies that show buff, brawny young men and the sexy, slim women who love them. And in fact, my own son — who at 15 is tall and thin — can often be found facing the mirror sideways, and sighing over the fact that his stomach is not completely flat. What he sees is the 10-year-old version of himself, when his one chin became two and he had to wear uniform pants marked “Husky.” (What marketing genius thought that “Husky” would be a good retail term?”) This was the year that his friends at school teased him about needing a “man-bra.” But no one needed to tease him; my son was his own worst critic. Except, perhaps, for me.

I remember being concerned about my son’s weight because his paternal grandfather and uncle were obese. My own mother lost 50 pounds more than 40 years ago, but today, at 5′ 4″ and 100 pounds, she looks in the mirror and sees the girl they used to call, “Fat Ferne.” I’ve heard her stories of torment and Hershey bars all of my life; I’ve heard how her voice changes when she talks about someone who has gained weight or “looks heavy.”

Read in Full:  http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2010/10/23/men-get-eating-disorders-too/

Women With Anorexia Nervosa More Likely to Have Unplanned Pregnancies, Study Finds

ScienceDaily (Oct. 30, 2010) — A new study by University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Norwegian researchers has found that women with anorexia nervosa are much more likely to have both unplanned pregnancies and induced abortions than women who don’t have the serious eating disorder.

These results may be driven by a mistaken belief among women with anorexia that they can’t get pregnant because they are either not having menstrual periods at all or are having irregular periods, said Cynthia M. Bulik, PhD, the study’s lead author and director of the UNC Eating Disorders Program.

“Anorexia is not a good contraceptive,” Bulik said. “Just because you’re not menstruating, or because you’re menstruating irregularly, doesn’t mean you’re not at risk for becoming pregnant.”

Physicians and other health care providers need to be aware of this as well, Bulik said. Doctors who treat women and adolescent girls, in particular, “need to make sure that they have the conversation about sexuality and contraception as clearly with patients with anorexia as they do with all other girls and women.” In addition, providers who take care of pregnant women need to know when their patients have an eating disorder in order to provide appropriate care. Screening for eating disorders during prenatal visits would be an excellent first step, Bulik said.

In the study, published in the November 2010 issue of the journal Obstetrics & Gynecology, Bulik and study co-authors analyzed data collected from 62,060 women as part of the Norwegian Mother and Child Cohort Study. There were 62 women in this sample who reported having anorexia nervosa.

The differences between women with anorexia and women with no eating disorder were striking. The average age of the mothers at delivery was 26.2 years in women with anorexia, compared with 29.9 years in the referent group of women without eating disorders. Fifty percent of women with anorexia reported unplanned pregnancies, compared with 18.9 percent, while 24.2 percent of women with anorexia reported having induced abortions in the past, compared to 14.6 percent.

Read in Full:  http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/10/101029122213.htm



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