Is anyone really still surprised that teenage boys are afflicted with eating disorders? Apparently! How anyone still associates food issues and body image problems strictly with affluent white girls is beyond me, but it is what it is. A recently published study revealed that nearly one in five teenage boys is seriously concerned with weight. The study also illuminated the exact reason we’ve managed to ignore male ED: we weren’t properly assessing them
According to Dr Alison Field of Boston’s Children’s Hospital, “Evaluations for eating disorders have been developed to reflect girls’ concerns with thinness but not boys’ concerns, which may be more focused on muscularity than thinness.” Of course this is not the case for everyone and putting people in gender designated boxes is part of how we got into this mess in the first place. Nevertheless, whatever gets people help is tolerable in my book. Field and her team studied 5,500 U.S. boys and evaluated them differently than they would girls. Of the boys they studied, 17.9% were “extremely concerned” about the appearance of their bodies. I assume the true percentage is actually higher, but due to the perpetual myth that caring about the way you look is girl-stuff, fewer might have accurately reported the severity of their concern.
Here are some facts and findings from the study published in JAMA Pediatrics:
- Boys concerns with muscularity were twice as likely to binge drink than their peers
- Those concerned with their weight were more likely to exhibit symptoms of depression
- Almost a third of participants reported infrequent binge eating, purging or overeating
- 2.9% of all respondents fit full or partial criteria for binge-eating disorder
- 9.2% reported being concerned with muscles
- 2.5% reported being concerned about weight
- 6.3% reported being troubled by both
Now, can we finally stop being surprised about boys with eating disorders? Please?
Via Daily Mail//Image via 20th Century Fox