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Men and Eating Distress / Disorders
Men are also affected by the pressures to shape their bodies to match current ideals. They are increasingly being targeted by fitness, muscle and body sculpting advertisers; only physical perfection is now acceptable. They strive to fit a shape that is not too big or too thin.
Magazines, newspaper, television, radio programmes and books describe eating distress as mostly a female’s issue. However, males develop this condition as well and not only in resent times. This was observed over three hundred years ago. In 1694, London physician Richard Morton, for the first time, reported a case of anorexia nervosa in a 16-year old male.
Admitting to having an eating disorder is difficult for anyone, but even more difficult for males due to the perceived notion that only females suffer from the illnesses. The National Centre for Health Statistics (USA) states that 48% of males are trying to lose weight as compared to 64% of females. Men undergo 25% of all cosmetic surgeries in USA. Male suffers have been overlooked and understudied. Many programs are treating female suffers only. Males struggling with eating distress were often teased more about their bodies while growing up.
In the last twenty years, the reported cases of males with eating distress have been steadily increasing. Media and professionals are paying more attention to this issue. Men’s bodies are more frequently the targets of advertising campaigns; leanness for men is increasingly being emphasised, and the number of male dieters and males reporting eating disorder continues to rise.
Very often men with eating disorder are intensely athletic and to have begun dieting in order to attain greater sports achievement or from fear of gaining weight because of sport. Many men may fit another proposed but not yet accepted diagnostic category, referred to as compulsive exercise, compulsive athleticism.