Contact: Christopher Clark, N.A.M.E.D. Founder & Executive Director
1. General Info. About EDs (Eating Disorders)
a. EDs are serious, complex, life-threatening illnesses
b. Both females and males are vulnerable to EDs
c. EDs are caused from a combination of factors, including biological, psychological, social, personality, familial, environmental, cultural, media, traumatic experiences, etc.
d. ED behaviors are used as a coping strategy (albeit an ineffective way) to deal with conflict, problems, and trauma.
e. EDs affect people both physically and psychologically.
f. Those with EDs often experience depression, anxiety, and may be obsessive-compulsive and may experience other psychiatric comorbid conditions.
a. Eating disorders (including anorexia, bulimia, and binge eating disorder) affect up to 24 million Americans of all ages and genders and 70 million people worldwide.
(The Renfrew Center Foundation for Eating Disorders, Eating Disorders 101 Guide: A Summary of Issues and Resources, 2003. Note: The 24 million amount is higher than the 8-10 million number of people with eating disorders commonly quoted, because it includes all three eating disorders, all genders, and all ages.)
b. Eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of any mental illness. (Crow, Peterson, Swanson, Raymond, Specker, Eckert & Mitchell, American Journal of Psychiatry, Dec. 2009, (166) 12, p. 1342-1346.)
c. 20% of people suffering from anorexia will prematurely die from complications related to their eating disorder, such as by suicide and heart problems. (P. F. Sullivan, American Journal of Psychiatry, Vol. 152 #7, July 1995, pp. 1073-1074.)
d. Only one in ten people with eating disorders receives treatment. (Greta Noordenbox, "Characteristics and Treatment of Patients with Chronic Eating Disorders", International Journal of Eating Disorders, 2002, Vol. 10, p. 15-29).
e. Anorexia is the third most common chronic illness among adolescents. (Public Health Services Office in Women's Health, Eating Disorders Information Sheet, 2000.)
f. According to research since 2000, estimates for the ratio of female to male eating disorders seems closer to a 3:1 ratio, rather than the 9:1 ratio traditionally reported before 2000. An estimated 25% of those with anorexia and bulimia are males.
(J. I. Hudson, E. Hiripi, H. G. Pope & R. C. Kessler, "The Prevalence and Correlates of Eating Disorders in the National Comorbidity Survey Replication," Biological Psychiatry, Feb. 1, 2007, 61 #3, 348-358. An NIMH science update Feb. 9, 2007 article, "Study Tracks Prevalence of Eating Disorders" can be viewed at www.nimh.nih.gov/science-news/2007/study-tracks-prevalence-of-eating-disorders.shtml
g. An estimated 40% of those with binge eating disorder are male. (American Psychiatric Association, Diagnostic & Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th edition - DSM-IV. Washington, D.C., 1994)
a. "Eating disorders in males have many features in common with females, but differ in gender-specific aspects, including social, biological, and developmental contexts." (Arnold Andersen, Leigh Cohn, and Thomas Holbrook, Making Weight: Men's Conflicts with Food, Weight, Shape & Appearance. Carlsbad, CA: Gurze Books, 2000, p. 32).
b. The existing differences between male and female eating disorders are primarily related to gender-identity. The expression of one's gender identity expressed in terms of masculinity or femininity influences one's perspective and experience with an eating disorder.
c. Arnold E. Andersen editor of the 1990 book, Males with Eating Disorders stated that although males and females exhibit the same symptoms, there are "differences between the sexes in predisposition, course, and onset". (A. E. Andersen, 1992, "Eating Disorders in Males" in Controlling Eating Disorders with Facts, Advice, and Resources by ed. R. Lemberg. Phoenix, AZ: The Orxy Press, p. 1).
d. Male EDs often go undiagnosed by doctors for several reasons, including their misconception that only females get eating disorders and the reasons men give for dieting and over exercising that seem plausible, such as to increase sports performance, to be healthy and fit, to avoid a disease of parents, to avoid being teased again for being overweight, or to improve a gay relationship.
e. Men experience an extra element of shame due to the misconception that EDs are a "female" disease or, if they do have an ED, they think that means they might be gay.
f. Men typically feel alone with their illness as if they are the only male with an eating disorder, because they do not see other male eating disorder patients, are usually the only male in therapy groups, and some treatment providers do not accept males as clients or patients.
g. Males may use different terminology than females to describe their thoughts and feelings, such as by wanting to lose "flab" and being more concerned with their shape/muscularity than with their weight.
h. Males tend to be more concerned with their body from the waist up, while females tend to be more concerned with their appearance from the waist down.
i. Males tend to be more concerned with how specific body parts look, such as muscle groups.
j. Males are more likely than females to use restricting food intake and exercise as their preferred weight control method.
k. A male who compulsively overeats or binges is more likely to go undetected, because of cultural beliefs that males eat more. Furthermore, males who are obsessive exercisers are less likely to go undetected due to cultural beliefs that males are more physically active and athletic.
l. "Other studies have shown that men on the whole are as dissatisfied with their body weight as women, but are dissatisfied in different ways. Forty percent of men would like to increase weight, while an equal number would like to decrease weight." (Arnold Andersen, Leigh Cohn, and Thomas Holbrook, Making Weight: Men's Conflicts with Food, Weight, Shape & Appearance. Carlsbad, CA: Gurze Books, 2000, p. 55).
m. Therapists must recognize males special treatment needs.
a. Action toys, such as GI Joe, can contribute to how boys feel about their bodies and create aspirations in them to look like these action figures. GI Joe becomes more muscular over time. GI Joe Land Adventure (1973) to GI Joe Extreme (1998) showed increasing size in body parts. The chest size increased from 44.4" to 54.8" and biceps from 12.2" to 26.8" (making GI Joe, if life-size, with the largest biceps on record). The waist size increased from 31.7 " to 36.5" with the later model having sharply rippled abdominals of advanced bodybuilders. ("Body Image, Bodybuilding, and Cultural Ideals of Muscularity" article by J. Kevin Thompson, PhD at www.musclechemistry.com/upload/musclechemistry-discussion/16850-body-image-bodybuilding-cultural-ideals-muscularity.html)
b. It is no surprise that the models we see are making an impression on us about how we "should" look, but ever think about how the store's mannequins may be playing mind games with you about how thin you "should" be? Dimensions of Rootstein's male mannequin has become smaller over the years from the Classic 1967 42" chest and 33" waist to the Androgyne 2010 model with a 35" chest and 27" waist. ("Manorexic Mannequins" article by David Colman, May 2, 2010 at www.nymag.com/news/intelligencer/topic/65753)
a. NAMED was found in 2006 to provide much needed support to and information about males with EDs. Males with EDs have been underrepresented and under treated as an ED population. N.A.M.E.D. is the only national organization in the U.S. specifically with a mission of reaching out to males with eating disorders with support and information.
b. NAMED is a 501(c)(3) non-profit with a mission of providing support to males with eating disorders in recovery and their families, making the public more aware that males get eating disorders too, and being a resource of information on the subject.
c. NAMED services include a website at www.NAMEDinc.org, a toll-free helpline at
1-877-780-0080 (or contact Chris@NAMEDinc.org) for treatment referrals, e-mail and phone support, online support groups for both males with eating disorders and concerned others, a speakers bureau, and a males with eating disorders professional group.
d. NAMED is in need of donations to advance its work.