Scourge of manorexia: Number of boys suffering from life-threatening eating disorder trebles in ten years
11:07 GMT, 10 April 2012
Soaring numbers of British men are suffering from eating disorders such as anorexia, with teenagers most at risk, NHS figures show.
Hospital admissions for under 18s have trebled in a decade from 39 in 2001 to 117 last year.
Overall 228 men were admitted last year compared to 108 in 2001, according to figures.
Bulimia can be even harder to detect than anorexia in boys. Experts say there is still a stigma around eating disorders that stops sufferers coming forward
However, they do not reflect the extent of the problem as they do not include GP consultations or those who have sought help from private clinics instead.
Men may also be more reluctant to admit they have a
problem as the issue has until now been seen as something affecting
mainly teenage girls.
Sam Thomas, the founder of the charity
MGEDT (Men Get Eating Disorders Too) told The Sun there was still a
stigma surrounding eating disorders.
'Stereotypical assumptions can make it more difficult for male sufferers to seek help,' he said.
The eating disorder charity beat estimates that 1.6 million
people in the UK have an eating disorder. It is thought that one in five
sufferers is male.
Medical experts blame the surge on an obsession with the modern 'perfect' body shape of bulging biceps and a six-pack stomach.
Exercise and weight-watching can become an obsession without sufferers realising
Speaking about the problem of male eating disorders, a spokeswoman for beat said: 'Exercise is a major factor with eating disorders in men in particular. They become obsessed with exercising every single day, if not more, and it can take over their life without them realising there may be a more deep-seated reason behind it.
'That is when it becomes an eating disorder.
'The pressure these days on guys to have the perfect figure is very similar to that which has and continues to affect women.
'It's all about losing body fat and getting a six pack, and it comes from the way the male shape is portrayed.
'That perfect figure can be a healthy body image for a man to aspire to; it is when it gets taken to an extreme that we see problems.'
Bulimia affects three times as many people as anorexia, but it can be more difficult to spot as the sufferer may not lose weight in the same way.
Diagnosing the condition is made difficult by men's reluctance to talk about their health, she said.
'We need GPs to be much more aware of the fact that males also these days are experiencing problems with eating disorders. They are not as good at recognising the symptoms in men as they should be.
'It can be because men are much more reluctant to talk about these issues or to admit there is a problem.
'There is a stigma about it – it is seen as a teenage girls' disease. But eating disorders are serious psychological conditions which can kill.'
For more information about eating disorders visit the MGEDT website or the beat website