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Eating disorders in men: a review of the literature

William Jones (ST4 in Psychiatry Yorkshire Centre for Eating Disorders, Leeds Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, Leeds, UK)
John Morgan (Yorkshire Centre for Eating Disorders, Leeds Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, Leeds, UK)

Journal of Public Mental Health

ISSN: 1746-5729

Article publication date: 29 July 2010

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Abstract

Eating disorders have long been perceived to occur primarily in women; few disorders in general medicine or psychiatry exhibit such a skew in gender distribution. Men and women with eating disorders share common risk factors and exhibit some overlap in clinical presentation, but important differences do exist. Determining which factors best explain these differences remain uncertain. Furthermore, despite a marked increase in the incidence of anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa in women over the last 50 years, the awareness of eating disorders in men remains low. This is in spite of the fact that men represent 10‐20% of cases of anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa and up to 40% of cases of binge eating disorder. Similarly, recent research has focused on the assumption and stereotype that eating disorders in men are associated with homosexuality, when male body image objectification and body dissatisfaction are also widespread in younger heterosexual men who are being increasingly confronted with the same impossible body image ideals that already challenge women and gay men. The stigma of being a man with an eating disorder continues, and we persist in attempting to fit men with eating disorders into a theoretical and clinical framework largely focused on the physical, psychological, and emotional development of women. This article reviews the literature on eating disorders in men and explores the factors that may explain this gender discrepancy.

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Citation

Jones, W. and Morgan, J. (2010), "Eating disorders in men: a review of the literature", Journal of Public Mental Health, Vol. 9 No. 2, pp. 23-31. https://doi.org/10.5042/jpmh.2010.0326

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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