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LGBT community more likely to suffer from eating disorders, claim experts

Experts from the National Eating Disorder Association say it's because of being a minority

By Steve Brown

The LGBT community are more likely to suffer from eating disorders, according to a new study.

According to the new study from the National Eating Disorder Association, the research found the LGBT community are likely to suffer from eating disorders and experts claim that being a minority contributes to this.

Dr Norman Kim told Stylecaster that behaviours such as binging, purging and undereating are a symptom of chronic social stress which LGBT allegedly experience with being minorities.

According to the association, gay men make up around 42 per cent of men with eating disorders and are 12 times more likely to report bulimic purging than straight men.

Lesbians and bisexual women are also twice as likely to binge eat at least once a month, the study found.

Psychologist Ashely Solomon said: “Studies have shown that compared to their cisgender counterparts, trans youth in particular are more likely to engage in unhealthy fasting, using diet pills and steroids and taking laxatives.

“In fact, the risk is about four times greater in this population of individuals.

“Eating disorder behaviours generally develop as a mechanism for coping with seemingly unmanageable feelings and stress.

“In particular, a personal and cultural history of social stigma and discrimination is a major risk factor for developing mental health challenges, including eating problems.

“For someone who has the genetic makeup to be at risk for an eating disorder, bias, bullying, family rejection, and an overall hostile world can tip the scales, so to speak, and lead to dangerous eating disorder symptoms.”

Dr Kim then went on add that despite the LGBT community are affected by these disorders, medical professionals lack the tools to deal with this population.

Kim added: “The greatest danger is that in the eating disorder treatment community, just like most of the medical and psychological communities, there is very little understanding of how to work with [trans] people.

“Finding eating disorder specialists who also have experience working with the trans population is essential but can be challenging, although we are seeing increasing efforts to correct this in our field.”

Beat is the UK’s leading charity supporting those affected by eating disorders and campaigning on their behalf.

Anyone can call the helpline on 0808 801 0677 or visit the website here.