Rainbow Pediatrics
Fayetteville Office
1327 Robeson St.
Fayetteville, NC 28305
(910) 486-5437
Fayetteville Office
341 S. McPherson Church Rd
Fayetteville, NC 28303
(910) 920-4428
Hope Mills Office
4469 S. Main St.
Hope Mills, NC 28348
(910) 426-5430
Raeford Office
142 Paraclete Dr.
Raeford, NC 28376
(910) 904-0404

Eating Disorders Among Young Males Increased by over 400 Percent

Eating disorders among young males have become a growing concern in recent years. A recent study published by JAMA Network Open found that hospitalizations due to eating disorders among young males increased 416 percent between April 2002 and the close of March 2020. In addition, hospitalizations among males aged 12 to 14 increased 196 percent during the same period. 

Many people believe that eating disorders only affect young women, but in reality, they can impact anyone, regardless of gender. Some common eating disorders among young males include anorexia, bulimia, and binge eating disorder. These conditions can have serious physical and mental health consequences, and it’s important for young males who may be struggling with an eating disorder to seek professional help and support from their loved ones. Education and awareness about eating disorders among young males can also help to reduce stigma and promote early intervention.

Why are Eating Disorders on the Rise in Young Males?

Several factors can contribute to the increased risk of eating disorders among young males. One of the primary factors is societal pressure to conform to certain body ideals, which can be just as strong for males as for females. For example, young males may feel pressure to have a muscular, athletic physique, which can lead to disordered eating behaviors such as excessive exercise, restrictive eating, and the use of supplements or steroids. In addition, young males who participate in sports or other physical activities may feel pressure to maintain a certain body weight or body composition, which can further fuel disordered eating behaviors.

Another factor that can contribute to the increased risk of eating disorders among young males is a lack of awareness and understanding of these conditions. Many people still believe that eating disorders only affect young females, which can make it harder for males to recognize the warning signs and seek help. In addition, there may be a stigma associated with eating disorders among males, which can make it harder for them to talk about their struggles and seek support.

There are several warning signs of eating disorders in males that should be taken seriously. These include:

1. Significant weight loss or gain

2. Refusal to eat certain foods or food groups

3. Obsessively counting calories or tracking food intake

4. Excessive exercise or compulsive exercise routines

5. Avoiding social situations that involve food

6. Preoccupation with body shape and weight

7. Frequent trips to the bathroom after meals

8. Mood swings, irritability, or depression

9. Digestive problems or other physical symptoms

10. Use of laxatives, diuretics, or other weight loss supplements without a medical reason.

Overall, it’s essential to recognize that eating disorders can affect anyone, regardless of gender. If you or someone you know is experiencing symptoms of an eating disorder, please get in touch with their pediatric provider to discuss this further. In addition, the Strong Kids Clinic is a unique program offered exclusively at Rainbow Pediatrics. The clinic provides support from board-certified specialist, Sanniya Nanda, MD. Our Strong Kids Clinic is a judgment-free zone, and Dr. Nanda is a knowledgeable and compassionate partner and advocate for you and your child or teen. 

Early intervention is critical to preventing these conditions from becoming more severe and potentially life-threatening. Let us help your family learn to make food their strength, not their weakness.