Monday, 29 December 2014

For Anorexic Men, the Focus Is on Muscle


Collected data shows a 'paradox,' with men becoming malnourished as they try to bulk up

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WebMD News from HealthDay

By Alan Mozes

HealthDay Reporter

MONDAY, Dec. 29, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Anorexia is typically associated with women, but a new report finds that men -- especially men obsessed with muscularity -- can develop the eating disorder, too.

The Canadian researchers noted that an estimated 10 percent or more of anorexia patients are thought to be male, though the actual number may be significantly higher. There was also a slightly larger proportion of gays with anorexia than is seen in women with the illness, the study found.

"We know that anorexia does touch more women, but even though many parents, and even medical professionals, don't realize it, it's also among boys and men," said study lead author Dominique Meilleur, an associate professor of psychology who studies adolescence and eating disorders at the University of Montreal.

"The problem is that the subject hasn't been studied enough among men, so we don't even know if the symptoms we use to measure for anorexia are appropriate for men, because they are mainly developed for women," Meilleur added.

One big gender difference: While female patients tend to place an excessive focus on food control and/or food rejection, male patients tend to focus more on excessive exercise and muscle gain.

In their research, Meilleur's team focused on 24 studies conducted in English or French between 1994 and 2011. Together, the studies included 279 male anorexia patients between ages 11 and 36 (at an average age of 18). All had been hospitalized for severe malnutrition.

In some but not all of the studies, patient characteristics were noted. Viewpoints on weight were collected from about a quarter of the male patients. Among those patients, nearly half said they were afraid of gaining weight and becoming fat and about the same number said they were unhappy with their current weight and wanted to lose more.

About a third of the men and boys studied were asked about their sense of "body image." Nearly two-thirds of them said that their dissatisfaction with their body stemmed from a desire for increased muscle mass and lower body fat.

source : For Anorexic Men, the Focus Is on Muscle

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