'Lack of interest' in male eating disorders
Provision for men with eating disorders has been slammed by an expert.
Dr John Morgan, who runs the Yorkshire Centre for Eating Disorders in Leeds, reckons as many as one in five young men are in 'extreme distress' with their body image. He has seen a big increase in men with anorexia and bulimia and claims that for every man with an eating disorder there are 10 more who desperately want to change the way they look.
In 2000, a report for the Eating Disorder Association said that not enough was being done to help care for men with eating disorders. Eight years on the situation is even worse according to Dr Morgan. He told the BBC: 'When the report was written there were some units that had dedicated expertise in male eating disorders. A couple of these have now closed down.
'There's a lack of funding, a lack of interest. You're dealing with a situation where you're trying to develop a national service for men across the country, but the Health Service is now more focused on the local.'
Speaking ahead of Manorexia, a BBC programme screened at the week-end, Dr Morgan said anorexia was still defined as a woman's problem. 'We know that 1 in 20 young people suffer from some degree of disordered eating and that at least 15% of them are men and yet that's a tip of an iceberg. There are men who have problems with compulsive exercise and excessive bodybuilding who have an illness, but we haven't defined them. Our definitions of illness have been focused on women, rather than men.'
Four weeks to live
One 13 year-old interviewed for the programme says that initially doctors didn't spot the problem.
He said: 'The diagnosis is very vague, especially in boys. I was tested for cancer, Aids, gluten allergies, and all various things like that, which really, I knew deep down, were completely irrelevant.'
George was eventually admitted to a clinic where he was told he had just four weeks to live.
In an malehealth survey, earlier this year, 62% of respondents said they weren't happy with how their body looked. Fewer than one man in three was happy with his body.
The BBC's Action Line on 0800 110 100 which is free from UK landlines is currently dealing with this issue.
Page created on September 15th, 2008
Page updated on December 18th, 2009