By Benjamin Griffiths
Eating disorders are usually identified with the female gender, but new evidence suggests incidents involving men are on the rise.
The familiar stereotypes of anorexia (self-starvation caused by an irrational weight concern) and other eating disorders have long been attributed to females. Men are not usually recognized as being obsessively concerned with how much they weigh.
However, approximately ten percent of all eating disorders in the U.S. involve men, according to Eating Disorders Awareness and Prevention Organization in Seattle.
Thomas Holbrook, director of the eating disorder center at Rogers Memorial Hospital in Oconomowoc, Wis., and recovering anorexic, recently released a book, “Making Weight-Mens Conflicts with food, weight, shape, and appearance.”
A recent study asserts that the numbers may be closer to one in six.
“That is probably a better picture. We don’t know if the number itself is increasing. Perhaps men are simply more willing to talk about it,” Holbrook said in a recent interview.
Media has often been cited as a cause of female eating disorders, setting an ideal standard for women in weight, body-shape and image, but does that affect men as well?
“The physical standards are becoming just as impossible for men as they are for women,” said Dr. Arnold Andersen, director of the eating disorders program at the University of Iowa College of Medicine, an expert on male eating disorders.
Pam Kidd, a counselor at the Center for Change, said, “There is a definite increase in the frequency of eating disorders. More people are trying to achieve the look exemplified by media models.”
Dr. Anderson said his latest research on young men reveals that around 80 percent are dissatisfied with their bodies. “Half want to bulk up, and half want to lose,” he said.
Dan Callister, 22, an Econ major from Farmington, Utah, said, “I think that a better build will catch a girls eye. It definitely makes an impression.”
“I’m sure that bigger guys get noticed more,” said Trevor Denham, 22, an Econ major from Glendale CA.
Corinne Campbell, 18, from Tulsa, Okla., majoring in pre-speech pathology, and Reilly Schafer, an 18-year-old pre-broadcast journalism major from Delano, Calif., both gave their opinions.
“It affects a first impression if a guy is more toned and wears a tight shirt,” said Campbell.
“To like a guy, there needs to be an initial attraction,”said Schafer.
However, both girls said after first impressions, impressing a girl is strictly a matter of personality.