Eating disorders in men and boys are on the rise, and, according to the website Eating Disorder Hope, 40 percent of patients with binge-eating disorder are male, with boys as young as 8 being diagnosed with anorexia.
Still, it’s likely that many cases of male eating disorders are under-reported and, consequently, remain untreated. Why? Because of the associated stigma, which, appears to be even greater for males than for females.
But we should not turn a blind eye to eating disorders in males, because they don’t seem to be going away anytime soon. According to the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA), exact figures are hard to come by, but one study estimates that males have a lifetime prevalence ranging from .3 percent for anorexia to 2 percent for binge-eating disorder.
Here at home, according to psychiatrist John G. Samanich, MD, MS, of Armonk Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, the problem is even bigger, with greater numbers of males suffering from eating disorders. “In Westchester and Fairfield Counties, there are at least twice the [average] amount,” says Samanich, “which is probably secondary to the greater value placed on appearance here, and the pressure kids, even boys, feel to maintain an idealized body type.”
If you suspect that a loved one has an eating disorder, there are plenty of resources available, both online and locally. Local resources include the Center for Eating Disorders at Cornell Westchester White Plains, Metro Behavioral Health in Scarsdale, and Monte Nido in Irvington.