The Surprising and Sobering Reality About Men and Eating Disorders

Eating disorders are portrayed almost exclusively as a women's health issue, but more men are starting to come forward about their struggles with the problem.

As many as 10 million men in America will struggle with some kind of eating disorder in their lifetimes.

Men engage in eating that can be considered "disordered" as often as women do, according to research compiled by the National Association for Males with Eating Disorders.

These include diseases traditionally associated only with women and girls and include anorexia, bulimia, and binge eating.

Signs of disordered eating in men — as in women — can include an unhealthy fixation on "clean" eating, low self-worth, obsession with losing or not gaining weight, disgust with body shape, and feeling fat no matter what the scale says.

Disordered eating in men can also include an obsession with body building, supplements, and muscle tone.

Such obsessions can lead to isolation and depression.

The vast majority of men with an eating disorder suffer in silence.

Only one in 10 men and boys with an eating disorder seeks treatment for it.

The number of men who suffer from eating disorders is underestimated precisely because so many don't come forward or get treatment.

Men deal with the same societal pressure to have "perfect bodies" that women do

But they may lack the resources to get help or are too ashamed to do so.

The perception that eating disorders aren't a problem for men has biased research into the scientific and biological mechanisms of eating disorders toward women's affliction. And almost all of the self-help literature on the subject is written expressly for women.

More men are starting to tell the story of their struggle with eating disorders.

And more support groups such as NAMED are forming to help them.

Mainstream publications such as GQ, Salon, and Jezebel have written about the problem of male eating disorders, beginning the process of normalizing a group of people who too often battle their disease silently and in the dark.

To learn more about the problem of men staying silent about eating disorders, watch ATTN:'s short video.