Men get eating disorders too...
Posted Wednesday 26 August 2009
I bet that if anyone bothered to research it (and there is probably some marketing company out there who already has), the top five office conversations would include the age old debate about Heat magazine, as well as other high-minded discussions such as which biscuit rules supreme (it's the chocolate HobNob). It starts when some unsuspecting victim walks in with the magazine in their hands. Half of the office rushes to see what the latest is on Jordan's love life and the other half scoff in disapproval. The debate begins: is celebrity culture just escapist fun or a poisonous drain on society?
Whatever the office settles upon, one thing is normally agreed: the constant barrage of images portraying unattainably 'perfect' bodies sets up an unrealistic and unhealthy standard for modern 'beauty'. No wonder we hear stories of teenage girls nearly dying to be as stick-thin as Posh. But what isn't normally discussed is the effect society's obsession with body image has on men. In fact, the incidence of eating disorders in men is on the rise - as many as a quarter of cases are thought to be male. The consensus seems to be that men are now feeling the pressure to conform to a certain body type - the 'washboard stomach' of Men's Health magazine.
Although more men now need help to tackle eating disorders, reports suggest that their needs are not being met. With anorexia and bulimia nervosa both seen as only affecting women, the services set up to deal with these problems tend to be female focused. As a result, men are put off getting help or find that their symptoms are not taken seriously. Even though some great organisations are out there that are working on this issue, such as Men Get Eating Disorders Too, much more needs to be done.
Visit our Men and Mental Health campaign page to find out more about what Mind is doing to improve mental health services for men and how you can get involved. You can also sign a petition on the Prime Minister's Office website for better service provision for men with eating disorders.
Mariam Kemple, Policy and Campaigns Officer
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