Males with Eating Disorders and Exercise

Posted on 10/01/14 01:31:pm

By Theodore E Weltzin, MD, FAED, FAPA

Men with eating disorders conservatively make up approximately 10 percent of anorexia nervosa (AN) and bulimia nervosa (BN) eating disorder patients, with BN being more common than AN. However for binge eating disorder (BED), rates for males are similar to females. While the acute presentations for males and females tend to be the same and include weight loss and malnutrition and/or binge eating with compensatory behaviors such as self-induced vomiting and calorie restriction, significant clinical differences are present between male and female eating disorder patients. Evidence indicates that men are as concerned about body image as women. However, unlike women whose preferred body image is thin, men’s preferred body image is muscular. Exercise and athletic competition, especially sports that require low body fat or extremes of weight loss, represent a risk for developing disordered eating.

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