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Do you have a Eating Disorder?

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  • Do you have a Eating Disorder?

    Monday, Nov. 4, 2013 — Eating disorders are commonly thought of as diseases that affect only women, but that’s not the case, according to a new study published in the journal JAMA Pediatrics. Researchers from Boston Children’s Hospital found that eating disorders are far more common among males than previously thought. Although they manifest differently than in women, male eating disorders can lead to depression and risky behaviors like binge drinking and drug use.

    “Rates of eating- and weight-related disorders are probably underestimated among males,” the researchers, led by Alison Field, ScD, with Boston Children's Hospital Adolescent Medicine Division, wrote in the study. “The frequency of use of products such as anabolic steroids to increase muscle size and enhance body size are at least as common among males as purging is among females, suggesting that a willingness to take extreme measures to achieve an ideal physique may be similar between males and females, but with a sex difference in the desired physique and the methods used for weight and shape control.”

    The researchers analyzed data from the Growing Up Today Study, conducted between 1999 and 2010, in which teens responded to health surveys every 12 to 36 months. Looking at a total of 5,527 teens from across the country, they found that eating disorders in males tended to come in the form of concerns about muscularity or thinness. Rather than engage in the bulimia or anorexia that is common in females with eating disorders, males tend to exercise heavily to bulk up or lose weight.

    Nearly 3 percent of the total number of survey respondents met the criteria for a full or partial diagnosis of a binge-eating disorder, according to the study, which is close to the 3.5 percent CDC-estimated rate of binge-eating disorders in women. The researchers also found that one-third of the boys reported infrequent binge eating, purging or overeating.

    Al Hergenroeder, MD, chief of Adolescent Medicine at Texas Children’s Hospital, said that men have historically made up a small number of eating disorder diagnoses, which is why there is little data on them.

    “There have always been a low percentage of boys characterized as having eating disorders,” Dr. Hergenroeder said. “They’re still clearly in the minority, and when you have such a small sample, it’s hard to study them.”

    Teen males in the study who said they were “highly concerned” about their muscularity were likely to use unhealthy supplements, growth hormones or steroids to enhance their physique, and were twice as likely as those who weren’t highly concerned to binge drink frequently or use drugs. Boys who were highly concerned about thinness were likely to develop depressive symptoms.

    “We see boys who take protein, creatine and other supplements to build muscle, and it appears that these people are more likely to use drugs,” Hergenroeder said. “We’ve known that people who use anabolic steroids are more likely to drink and use drugs. One of the most important things this study finds is that this subgroup is at risk from multiple angles.”

    These co-morbid conditions are similar to what is seen in girls and fall in line in what experts know about treating eating disorders. “Boys with anorexia, bulimia, or other eating disorders are very similar to girls,” said Hergenroeder. “We treat them the same we do as girls. We bring them to an inpatient facility and monitor their meals.”

    “Gender issues don’t really play a role in treatment,” he added.

  • #2
    I did go through a binge and purge phase yet working out is what ultimately helped me.... That and being able to track all of my calories with a goal in mind


    • #3
      I don't know how it is a serious bber with pro aspirations on gear would be more likely to screw around with drinking and drugs... My ex trainer and many guys I've known wouldn't even cheat on their diet at all... Hell I had one trainer who was like retarted lean year round who didn't even drink c lite in prep mode!!! Not saying there aren't a lot of gym rats who don't enhance to get there party on... But from a competitive standpoint... Don't see it

      But hell what is normal anymore anyway... I think people can take it to extremes to where they can never go "off" or feel the need to puke after cheating or jus diet so rigorously it consumes them yes... I do believe their are lots of bodybuilders who have taken a mindset that's unhealthy... I don't necessarily feel it's very healthy to go with gallons if milk and Oreos to put wieght on for wieghts sake but some plers do it (hey mass moves mass)

      But the sport is sooooooo extreme...

      Erybody I work with thinks I'm "undoing my diet" of chicken and almonds oats and such and passing on the cake doughnuts and all that and then come sat or Sunday crushing a box of lucky charms a box of pop tarts and a plateful of bagels (and who the hell wants to discuss hormonal shifts and leptin and all that with people who feel healthy is to limit yourself to a few treats a day and the frankly don't care)

      I don't know if I'd agree that all bbers have issues or all powerlifters or all fitness but there are def some...

      I was damn near psychotic about my wt (I was a very fat kid) when I was 21-22 ish because I was terrified of getting fat again...

      In high school I was very lanky and from 17-20 ish I ate whatever I could and grew... But got fat...

      Got to be some balance in there... I always loved dustys cooking segments because it made sense to not hate your diet more than you have to...

      It be awsome to be able to bulk smart in my high school days build a powerlifting foundation cross over to DC in my eat twenties and be advanced now... But you know I made the typical young guy mistakes (hell I make em now)
      Last edited by DC_catholic315; 11-05-2013, 10:51 PM.
      I see you didn't take a s#!t before deadlifting....
      I too like to live dangerously


      • #4
        I do realize that this was with a lot of teens which may skew some things... I've seen teens pop pro hormones in retarted amount and eat like shit and gain like 10 lbs and party there ass off... Then lose it
        I see you didn't take a s#!t before deadlifting....
        I too like to live dangerously


        • #5
          Workin' on it.
          Ph.D., Theoretical Physics '16
          kind of a douche


          • #6
            I agree with the study. I don't fit the mold, at all, and I know a lot of people in the sport that don't but most do.

            A LOT of people in this sport exhibit "high risk" behavior. All you have to do is go to the gear section of almost any bodybuilding board and you will see what they are willing to take and do. I think these high risk people tend to gravitate towards the sport vs. the argument that the sport turns them into high risk type people.


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            • #7
              Here's the actual study.

              I prefer to not have my impressions filtered through a staff writer of unknown credentials...


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              • #8
                Originally posted by Ken "Skip" Hill View Post
                I think these high risk people tend to gravitate towards the sport vs. the argument that the sport turns them into high risk type people.

                I agree. People have the tendencies, or they don't This particular "sport" attracts high risk types and extremists. At a high level, it almost seems to be a prerequisite. Of course, extreme is relative, depending on the company you keep and environment you are in.

                As for the OP, the underlying issues of eating disorders are the same regardless of gender (typically body image issues and how it ties into self-worth and acceptance, cultural/social pressure to look a certain way). We are social creatures and seek/need a certain amount of acceptance and love for survival, as well as emotional and spiritual reasons. From a biological standpoint - looking a certain way is associated with being desirable for mating and pairing purposes.

                Do you think this has been an issue all along, and just not spoken of? Or are we as a culture becoming more superficially oriented across the board, largely due to media influences? It could also be in part due to the "equalizing" of gender expectations. Everybody's got to look good and be breadwinners.

                EDIT: I wrote that before seeing homon's link.
                Last edited by phoenix13; 11-06-2013, 11:27 AM.
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