Anorexia nervosa has the highest mortality rate of any mental health condition, and all eating disorders, regardless of severity, have a damaging effect on an individual’s life.
Traditionally eating disorders are seen as primarily affecting young white women, however this picture is incredibly misleading. In fact, it has been suggested that men constitute around 25% of people with eating disorders (NEDA, 2016).
It’s likely that there are many other men struggling with body image who are not captured by these statistics.
This might be because they are fighting an eating disorder without support from services and therefore are not included in available statistics, or perhaps because they do not feel able to speak out about their body image struggles.
Either way, it’s important that research focussing on eating disorders increasingly begins to consider these difficulties across genders.
Some research into men’s’ experiences of eating disorders has investigated whether or not sexuality can have an impact on eating and body image concerns.
It seems that gay and bisexual men experience eating disorders more frequently than straight men (Strother et al, 2012). The reasons behind this aren’t clear so further research to understand body image in men as well as possible risk factors for developing eating disorders is vital.
Despite growing awareness that many men live with eating disorders, there is a dearth of research focusing on their particular experiences. Research at the University of York hopes to contribute towards addressing this issue.
By asking men to fill in a short (15 minute) questionnaire that focuses on relationships with food and their bodies it is hoped to examine the relationships between sexuality and eating disorders in men, and to use these results in further experiments focussing on how men experience eating disorders.
If you would like to take part in this research, please visit the link below and fill out the survey online. It’s important to point out that the survey has questions that focus on how you feel about your body and how you eat and exercise.
If these questions would be upsetting for you, please don’t take part in the survey.
Click here to take part in the survey.