Saturday, September 05, 2009

Men Have Eating Disorders Too

I'm the first to admit that I used to be lighter, that I don't like the slight bulge of middle aged spread around my middle. But I used to be an athlete, I was eating the required calories to complete the training and racing and my body though thinner was tuned muscle. I don't have an issue with a little extra poundage, I know the work I went through before was not for body image reasons but for sporting achievement, however that isn't always the case.

When Jo Swinson launched her campaign about Airbrushed ads leading to unrealistic images only related to girls and women. Of course that is part of the 'Real Women' policy paper that is before conference later this year.

As I Tweeted or commented at the time the same applies to men. There are magazines aimed at men that show the idealised male torso in adverts for cologne, underwear or whatever, just like there are those that affect the women amongst us. For the gay male there are additional sightings of the somewhat 'perfect' form by whatever means. Bombarded by images men are also likely to try and emulate those images.

The problem for the men with eating disorder there is the added problem that often their condition is not taking seriously enough, even by doctors and other health practitioners. Currently of the 60,000 people with an eating disorder only 10-20% are male. Yet amongst men, and in particular gay men, the image of what is average is at the lower end or below what is actually ideal for their body type and height.

While Jo is looking at potential causes there is a great need for males with eating disorders to get help with the effects. There is a Facebook Group set up to highlight the issues of male eating disorder, promoting a Downing Street petition stating:

'We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to ensure men with eating disorders are given the same opportunities for treatment and care as female sufferers and are by no means discriminated against by their doctor / other health practitioner because they are male.'

Please go along and sign it too.

1 comment:

Paul Walter said...

Well said Stephen. As a regular gym goer who struggles with the "battle of the bulge", it never ceases to amaze me when some male figures come on the telly or the front of mags with eight packs and perfect muscles. They are very unrealistic. When you do gym work you appreciate just what a huge amount of time and effort it takes to have, for example, a two pack - let alone an eight pack. Such large investment of time and effort is well beyond the reach of all but a handful of men.


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