Eating Disorders: More Than a Stereotype

Eating disorders affect people of all ages, genders, and ethnicities.

A stereotype persists that this category of mental illness only impacts women when, in reality, it is common for men as well. While the majority of people with eating disorders are women, one in three men will be affected in their lifetime.

In recent years, many advocacy groups have supported men to share that they too are affected and are driven to help people have a better understanding of this illness.

Eating disorders are not caused by people simply wanting to lose weight or gain muscle. For both genders, the disorder usually arises from the constant need to obsess over their looks; men and women feel the urge to maintain a perfect body image to be fulfilled.

This belief for many can result from social media and the new digital age surrounding them. Mobile apps, such as Instagram and Twitter, produce many external pressures. Constant pressure from social media can lead to poor body image that can result in cases of anorexia nervosa, binge eating disorder, bulimia nervosa, and other disorders.

Eating disorders alone have an impact on 30 million people in a variety of ways and have the highest death rate of any mental illness. Continuing to grow awareness regarding eating disorders is very important in order to understand everyone’s different experiences.

If you or a loved one are struggling with an eating disorder, it’s important to get help. Talk to your primary care physician as a first step or reach out to the National Eating Disorders Association at 800-931-2237. You can also text “NEDA” to 741741 for crisis situations.

Find more information about eating disorders here:

Photo credit: Eka Shoniya

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