Can males have an eating disorder?
That is an excellent question. I quoted one study that only mentioned young girls, but it's important to note that eating disorders impact boys and men across the board. Statistics show that eating disorders are lower in males than females; however, some of these differences may be explained by a stigma that males don't have eating disorders. This is not unlike some of the stereotypes that come along with other mental health diagnoses, where young men or boys Eating disorders may not be recognized in the same way in males and females and may be underreported. I worked with a group of kids that had a few boys. Even the young girls experiencing intensive eating disorder symptoms had stigma towards the boys in the group. "My eating disorder presents this way, but you probably want to be more muscular, not thin." The young boy replied, "No, my disorder sounds very similar to yours." The girls were surprised as they thought the boys would experience it differently than they would. This perception was fascinating to me.
Eating disorders affect every gender, age, sexual orientation, race, socioeconomic status, et cetera. It doesn't discriminate, but I think that was one of the significant issues that have come up in my practice. There's also some stigma around this prototype of what a particular body would look like if it were experiencing a specific eating disorder. For example, if a person's body isn't overly thin, they must not have anorexia. Conversely, someone with a larger body or higher weight is thought to have an eating disorder. In either instance, this is not necessarily true.