Eating Disorders

Menstuff® is actively compiling information, books and resources on the issue of men and eating disorders. Eating disorders are very complex emotional issues. They are psychiatric disorders. Their cause is unclear but believed to be related to a number of physical, psychological, cultural, and social factors. Though they may seem to be nothing but a dangerously obsessive dietary concern on the surface, for most men and women suffering with an eating disorder there are deeper emotional conflicts to be resolved.They may also exhibit other health problems, such as dehydration and malnutrition. Eating disorders also increase a person's risk of other health problems related to a poor diet, such as menstrual period changes, osteoporosis, and, in severe cases, heart and other organ problems.


Newsbytes - Recent news stories on the subject

Body Image Problems Not Just in Women
Male Anorexia: One million victims, ashamed and overlooked
The Effects of the Media on Male Body Image
Anorexia Nervosa
Bulimia Nervosa
Defining characteristics of Binge Eating Disorder
Binge Eating Disorder

Eating Disorders Not Otherwise Specified (EDNOS)
Men & Disorder
Self-Assessment for Anorexia
10 Tips for Dads with Daughters
Ten Things Every Father Should Know
Don't run yourself into the ground
Eating Disorders & Daughters
Eating Disorder Referral and Information Center
Journals - on Child, Emotional, Religious, and Sexual Abuse and Trauma


Male Anorexia: One million victims, ashamed and overlooked

Gear magazine took on a subject that few main stream men's magazines would touch. They report, "Until now, the national clamor over eating disorders and body image problems has concentrated exclusively on women, reinforced by the feminist assumption that the mania is "caused" by the tyranny of the media-fueled beauty cult. It is women, not men, who have been pegged as the 'victims' of this obsessive focus on looks and nothing fuels the victim image more satisfying than an emaciated, anorexic woman. But recent studies, though they have received little attention, have illuminated a startling and troubling fact: one in six cases of eating disorders are diagnosed in men."  Dr. Arnold E Andersen, MD a professor of psychiatry at the University of Iowa says that men with eating disorders have been "ignored, neglected and dismissed because of statistical infrequency, or legislated out of existence by theoretical dogma."  (When have we heard that before?  Cancer, domestic violence, rape, statutory rape, sexual harassment. Also, click here concerning the fact that men out-die women in all 15 major causes of death while the press and research dollars and awareness campaigns virtually ignore the situation. That's really something to think about!)

The stigma attached to eating disorders, profound as it is among women, is almost insurmountable among men, who not only resist treatment, but are frequently refused treatment even when they do seek it. Those men who do get help often have a heavy burden of shame to unload. In fact, amenorrhoea (the cessation of menstrual periods in females) was regarded for years as a central criterion of anorexia - men, by definition couldn't have it. Also, the stereotype of the effeminate homosexual male model also dominates, but 80 percent of men with eating disorders - whether bulimia or anorexia - are heterosexual.

Anorexia and bulimia are characterized, in both men and women, by essentially the same traits: self-induced starvation, an excessive fear of becoming fat even when thin, and a tendency toward compulsive living patterns. Men don't necessarily think in terms of "fat" or "thin" as women do. They relate in terms of "strong" or "weak", where fat is associated with being weak, unmanly and disgusting. So, for many men, structured forms of exercise are carried to obsessive levels.

Treatment needs differ between men and women - they have different preoccupation's with body image, and will be returning to different body shapes. Even if men do decide to seek treatment, the medical establishment may not be prepared and many don't even know how to respond.

Thanks Gear for having the guts to provide the information. Now, let's hope that those million plus men affected by anorexia are man enough to seek help!

The Effects of the Media on Male Body Image

A Thesis Submitted to the Department of Psychology

The purpose of this study was to assess the influence of the ideal male body presented in the media on male body image. It was hypothesized that the more men are aware of the ideals of society and the more they have internalized these ideals, the more dissatisfied they would be with their bodies.

Men have 10% of eating disorders

University of Iowa psychiatrist Arnold Andersen says he currently has three patients in his eating disorder clinic who "look like they have been in a famine or a concentration camp." They looked "cadaveric," he said, virtually skin and bones. All three are male.

More males are getting lifted, tucked; but men keep cosmetic surgery a secret

An increasing number of baby boomers in their 40s and older are opting for facial surgery to soften signs of aging. Face lifts and brow lifts alleviate tired or stern looks and create more youthful, rested appearances in men.

Males & Eating Disorders by Daniel Slosberg

At least one out of every ten people with an eating disorder is a man or a boy, yet most people still think of eating disorders as women-only. The resources available on the Internet reflect this mistaken thinking; most eating disorder-related sites speak only of women, while a few sites give a cursory mention of males. The Males & Eating Disorders site is an attempt to uncover those few sites which deal primarily with eating disorders in males, as well as to provide other informative and helpful resources concerning this under-represented and misunderstood subject.

Eating disorders in males: A neglected problem is revisited

In a society that places high value on the physical beauty and thinness of women, the thought that a male teenager represents one of the first documented eating disorder cases seems incomprehensible. But it is true. In 1694, London physician Richard Morton reported the first case of anorexia nervosa in a 16 year-old male.

Men with eating disorders

While eating disorders are commonly associated with the female gender, there are a significant number of males afflicted with these illnesses. In one study of bulimia nervosa in males, the incidence was 0.2% of adolescent boys and young adult men, in comparison with 1% among adolescent girls and young adult women.

Anorexia in Males

Anorexia was first described in males by both Morton (57) and Gull (58). Anorexia in males accounted for approximately six percent of cases seen in an eating disorder clinic (38,59). Anorexia may be underdiagnosed because many physicians, as well as the anorectics themselves, are unaware that this condition occurs in both sexes.

Bulimia in Males

Bulimia has been reported in male patients. Herzog et al. noted an incidence in males of approximately four to five percent of a total population of bulimic patients. Gwirtsman found that ten to 13 percent of male students met DSMIII criteria for bulimia.

Eating Disorders in Males

About 7 million women across the country suffer from eating disorders including anorexia nervosa and bulimia and, as a result, most research into those two diseases has been conducted on females. However, as many as a million men may also struggle with the diseases.

Eating Disorders Among a Population of Navy Men

Eating Disorders have been widely studied among populations of civilian females and among select groups of lay men (athletes and wrestlers). Gross disturbances in eating behaviors characterize conditions of anorexia nervosa (AN) currently seen in 1-2% of lay women. Bulimia Nervosa (BN) is prevalent among 2% of the lay female population and both disorders occur at a ratio of 10:1 female to male. The category of eating disorders known as Not Otherwise Specified (NOS) has been reported to exist between 3-35% in the lay population. Eating disorders are typically known to exist at a higher rate among women leading highly regimented, ritualized lives, regulated by rules and weight standards and among male wrestlers and jockeys.

Not just a woman's disease

Misconceptions of male eating disorders keep men from getting the help they need.

Walking up and down the aisle of the local supermarket, Richard Dickinson selected his groceries carefully, but he didn't shop for items to stock in his pantry or refrigerator. Instead, his list consisted of a few bags of cookies, a pumpkin pie, a gallon of chocolate ice cream, a jar of peanut butter, chocolate syrup, and a bag of potato chips. When Dickinson returned home, he sat down in front of the television, made sure no one else was around and began eating. He didn't stop until the cookies, the ice cream, the potato chips and the pie were gone. He then walked to the bathroom, knelt in front of the toilet and purged.

Males with eating disorders: Some questions and answers

What eating disorders do men and boys get? How many males have these disorders? Are the risk factors any different for males than they are for females?


Anorexia Nervosa

Individuals with anorexia nervosa have an intense fear of gaining weight or getting fat. They eat very little and usually become extremely thin. They are unwilling or unable to maintain a body weight that is normal or expectable for their age and height (most clinicians use 85% of normal weight as a guide). Individuals with anorexia nervosa typically display a pronounced fear of weight gain and a dread of becoming fat although they are dramatically underweight. Concerns and perceptions about their weight have a extremely powerful influence and impact on their self-evaluation. The seriousness of the weight loss and its physical effects is minimized or denied (women with the diagnosis of anorexia nervosa have missed at least three consecutive menstrual cycles).

Diagnostic criteria of anorexia nervosa include two subtypes of the disorder that describe two distinct behavioral patterns. Individuals with the Restricting Type maintain their low body weight purely by restricting food intake and increased activity (i.e. compulsive exercise). Those with the Binge-Eating/Purging Type usually restrict their food intake but also regularly engage in binge eating and/or purging behaviors (i.e. self-induced vomiting or the misuse of laxatives, diuretics or enemas). Binge-Eating/Purging Type of Anorexia Nervosa is also frequently associated with other impulse control problems and mood disorders.

People who suffer from anorexia often have low self-esteem and a tremendous need to control their surroundings and emotions. The eating disorder is often a reaction to external and internal conflicts (i.e. anxiety, stress, and unhappiness can be leading factors).


The person suffering Anorexia is generally extremely sensitive about being fat, or has an intense fear of becoming fat, and of losing control over the amount of food he/she eats. This hyper-sensitivity is accompanied by the desire to control his/her emotions and reactions to these emotions. Low self-esteem and the constant need for acceptance leads to obsessive dieting and starvation as a way to control not only weight, but also feelings and actions regarding their emotions. Many anorexics feel they are not deserving of life's gifts and pleasures. They often deprive themselves of situations that offer pleasure. Starvation or restriction, obsessive exercise, calorie counting, a constant obsession with food and health issues, self-induced vomiting, the use of excessive amounts of laxative, diuretics, and/or diet pills, and a persistent concern with body image can all be some of the physical indications that someone suffers from Anorexia Nervosa. People suffering with Anorexia may also go through periods of Bulimia (binging and purging) as well.

There are numerous ways a person with Anorexia can exhibit their disorder. The anorexic attempts to maintain strict control over food/caloric intake. Periods of starvation, obsessive counting of calories, compulsive exercising, and/or purging after meals are among the most common symptoms. In some cases, an anorexic will seem to eat normal meals with only periods of restriction. They use diet pills to control their appetite, or laxatives to attempt to rid their body of food, both of which are dangerous and useless in producing weight loss results. Anorexics will deny hunger, make excuses to avoid eating, will often hide food they claim to have eaten, or attempt to purge the food away with self-induced vomiting, or by taking laxatives.

Diagnostic Criteria

The following definition of Anorexia Nervosa is used to assist mental health professionals in making a clinical diagnosis. The clinical criteria is not always representative of what one living with anorexia feels. Please note, you can still suffer from Anorexia even if one of the below signs is not present. One can not simply read the criteria and think "I don't have one of the symptoms, so I am not Anorexic" or "I don't have a problem with food."

1. Refusal to maintain body weight at or above a minimally normal weight for age and height (e.g., weight loss leading to maintenance of body weight less than 85% of that expected; or failure to make expected weight gain during period of growth, leading to body weight less than 85% of that expected).

2. Intense fear of gaining weight or becoming fat, even though underweight.

3. Disturbance in the way in which one's body weight or shape is experienced, undue influence of body weight or shape on self-evaluation, or denial of the seriousness of the current low body weight.

4. In postmenarcheal females (the absence of at least three consecutive menstrual cycles.

Restricting Type: during the current episode of Anorexia Nervosa, the person has not regularly engaged in binge-eating or purging behavior (i.e., self-induced vomiting or the misuse of laxatives, diuretics, or enemas).

Binge-Eating Type or Purging Type: during the current episode of Anorexia Nervosa, the person has regularly engaged in binge-eating OR purging behavior (i.e., self-induced vomiting or the misuse of laxatives, diuretics, or enemas).


Anorexia Nervosa is an eating disorder effected by a complex mixture of social, psychological and physical problems.



There are two types of Anorexia Nervosa:

90-95% of individuals with Anorexia Nervosa are female.

Common purging behaviors include:

Eating disorders are very complex emotional issues. Though they may seem to be nothing but a dangerously obsessive dietary concern on the surface, for most men and women suffering with an eating disorder there are deeper emotional conflicts to be resolved.



Bulimia Nervosa

Individuals with bulimia nervosa regularly engage in discrete periods of overeating, which are followed by attempts to compensate for overeating and to avoid weight gain. There is variation in the nature of the overeating but the typical episode of overeating involves the consumption of an amount of food that would be considered excessive in normal circumstances. The bulimic is dominated by a sense of a lack of control over the eating. Binge eating is followed by attempts to undo the consequences of the binge though fasting, self-induced vomiting, misuse of laxatives, severe caloric restriction, diuretics, enemas, or excessive exercising, etc. The bulimic's self-evaluation is centered on the individual's perceptions of his/her body image. Concerns about weight and shape are characteristic of those with bulimia nervosa. The diagnostic criterion of bulimia nervosa requires that the individual not simultaneously meet criteria for anorexia nervosa. (If an individual simultaneously meets criteria for both anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa, only the diagnosis of Anorexia Nervosa, binge-eating/purging type is given.) The formal diagnosis also stipulates minimal frequency and duration cut-offs. The diagnosis requires that individuals must binge eat and engage in inappropriate compensatory behavior at least twice weekly for three months.

There are also two subtypes of bulimia nervosa. The Purging Type describes individuals who regularly compensate for the binge eating with self-induced vomiting, laxative abuse, diuretics, or enemas. The Non-Purging Type is used to describe individuals who compensate through dietary fasting or excessive exercising.


There are two types of bulimia nervosa:

It occurs in 0.5% to 2.0% of adolescents and young adult women.


Individuals with Bulimia are usually aware they have an eating disorder. Obsessed with food they often focus on and enjoy discussing diet related issues. The Bulimic may engage in self-starvation between binge-purge episodes thus presenting the same dangers as the anorexic, in addition to the ones presented by the binging and purging. Recurring episodes of rapid food consumption followed by tremendous guilt and often purging, a feeling of lacking control over his or her eating behaviors, regularly engaging in stringent diet plans and exercise, the excessive use of laxatives, diuretics, and/or diet pills and a persistent concern with body image can all be warning signs someone is suffering with Bulimia Nervosa.

It is important to realize that those suffering with Bulimia manifest symptoms in different ways. The Bulimic has binge and purge episodes where as purging can be different things to different people. After binging, some will exercise compulsively, in an attempt to burn off the calories of a binge. Others will self-induce vomiting or take laxatives, or to "fast" for days following a binge. Some take diet pills in an attempt to keep from binging or to use diuretics to try to lose weight. Bulimics will often hide food for later binges and often eat in secret.

Diagnostic Criteria

The following definition of Bulimia Nervosa is used to assist mental health professionals in making a clinical diagnosis. The clinical definitions are usually not representative of what a victim feels or experiences in living with the illness. It is important to note that you can still suffer from Bulimia even if one of the below signs/symptoms is not present. If you think you have Bulimia, it is dangerous to read the diagnostic criteria and think if you do not have one of the symptoms, you therefore, must not be Bulimic.

1. Recurrent episodes of binge eating.

A. An episode of binge eating is characterized by both of the following:

1. Eating, in a discrete period of time (e.g., within any 2-hour period), an amount of food that is definitely larger than most people would eat during a similar period of time and under similar circumstances.

2. A sense of lack of control over eating during the episode (e.g., a feeling that one cannot stop eating or control what or how much one is eating).

B. Recurrent inappropriate compensatory behavior in order to prevent weight gain, such as self-induced vomiting; misuse of laxatives, diuretics, enemas, or other medications; fasting; or excessive exercise.

C. The binge eating and inappropriate compensatory behaviors both occur, on average, at least twice a week for 3 months.

D. Self-evaluation is unduly influenced by body shape and weight.

E. The disturbance does not occur exclusively during episodes of Anorexia Nervosa.

Purging Type: during the current episode of Bulimia Nervosa, the person has regularly engaged in self-induced vomiting or the misuse of laxatives, diuretics, or enemas

Nonpurging Type: during the current episode of Bulimia Nervosa, the person has used other inappropriate compensatory behaviors, such as fasting or excessive exercise, but has not regularly engaged in self-induced vomiting or the misuse of laxatives, diuretics, or enemas


Defining characteristics of Binge Eating Disorder

Binge eating disorder is a relatively recently recognized disorder (it is sometimes referred to as compulsive overeating). Some researchers believe it is the most common of the eating disorders affecting millions of Americans. Similar to bulimia nervosa, those with binge eating disorder frequently consume large amounts of food while feeling a lack of control over their eating. However, this disorder is different from bulimia nervosa because people with binge eating disorder usually do not purge (i.e. fasting, vomiting, laxatives, excessive exercise, etc) their bodies of the excess food they consume during a binge episode.

Diagnostic Criteria: DSM-IV

A. Recurrent episodes of binge eating. An episode is characterized by:

1. Eating a larger amount of food than normal during a short period of time (within any two hour period)

2. Lack of control over eating during the binge episode (i.e. the feeling that one cannot stop eating).

B. Binge eating episodes are associated with three or more of the following:

1. Eating until feeling uncomfortably full

2. Eating large amounts of food when not physically hungry

3. Eating much more rapidly than norma

4. Eating alone because you are embarrassed by how much you're eating

5. Feeling disgusted, depressed, or guilty after overeating

C. Marked distress regarding binge eating is present

D. Binge eating occurs, on average, at least 2 days a week for six months

E. The binge eating is not associated with the regular use of inappropriate compensatory behavior (i.e. purging, excessive exercise, etc.) and does not occur exclusively during the course of bulimia nervosa or anorexia nervosa.

*From the DSM-IV, Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, fourth edition, Washington D.C.: American Psychiatric Association, 1994.

Some Warning Signs:

Some medical consequences:

Treatment Options:

Studies have found that people with binge eating disorder may find it harder than other people to continue in weight loss treatment. In addition, they may be more likely to regain weight quickly. These are some of the reasons that people with binge eating disorder may require treatment that focuses on their binge eating before they try to lose weight. Further, even those who are not overweight are frequently distressed by their binge eating and may benefit from treatment.

There are several methods currently used to treat binge eating disorder.

A. Cognitive-behavioral therapy: Method in which the client is taught techniques to monitor and change their eating habits, as well as to change the way they respond to difficult and stressful situations.

B. Interpersonal psychotherapy: Method in which the client is taught to examine their relationships with friends and family and to make changes in problem areas.

C. Medications: Antidepressants may be helpful for some individuals.

D. Self-help groups: These groups may be a good additional source of support for many.

Research is still trying to attempting to determine which method or combination of methods is the most effective in controlling binge eating disorder.

Often those who have binge eating disorder suffer with the disorder for years, feel ashamed, depressed may feel very alone. It is important to recognize that you are not alone, there are millions like you and there are successful treatment options available for you.

To determine the type of treatment that is best suited for your situation treatment options should be discussed with a licensed mental health practitioner who can assess your needs.

This information provided by the National Institutes of Health, 1999

Additional Sources:


According to the American Psychiatric Association, a person diagnosed as bulimic or anorectic must have all of that disorder's specific symptoms:

Bulimia Nervosa

Anorexia Nervosa

Source: Dixie Farley is a staff writer for FDA Consumer. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Consumer Magazine: On the Teen Scene: Eating Disorders Require Medical Attention. September-October 1997 is online at

Eating Disorders Not Otherwise Specified (EDNOS)

There are variants of disordered eating that do not meet the diagnostic criteria for anorexia nervosa or bulimia nervosa. These are still eating disorders requiring necessary treatment. A substantial number of individuals with eating disorders fit into this category. Individuals with eating disordered behaviors that resemble anorexia nervosa or bulimia nervosa but whose eating behaviors do not meet one or more essential diagnostic criteria may be diagnosed with EDNOS. Examples include: individuals who meet criteria for anorexia nervosa but continue to menstruate, individuals who regularly purge but do not binge eat, and individuals who meet criteria for bulimia nervosa, but binge eat less than twice weekly, etc. Being diagnosed as having an "Eating Disorder not Otherwise Specified" does not mean that you are in any less danger or that you suffer any less.

Profile: "Not Otherwise Specified":

Having an "Eating Disorder not Otherwise Specified" can mean a variety of things. The sufferer may have symptoms of Anorexia but still have their menstrual cycle. It can mean the victim can still be an "average/normal weight" but still be suffering Anorexia. It can mean the victim equally participates in some Anorexic as well as Bulimic behaviors (referred to as Bulimiarexic by some).

The most important thing to remember is that Eating Disorders, Anorexia, Bulimia, Compulsive Overeating, or any combination of them, are all very serious psychological illnesses! They all have their physical dangers and complications. They all present themselves through a variety of disordered eating patterns. They stem from issues such as low self-esteem, a need to ignore emotional states such as depression, anger, pain, anger, and most of all. They have developed as a means to cope with one's current state. There is help and hope...

Diagnostic Criteria: EDNOS

The following definition of an Eating Disorder Not Otherwise Specified is meant to assist mental health professionals in making a clinical diagnosis. This clinical category of disordered eating is meant for those who suffer but do not meet all the diagnostic criteria for another specific disorder.

Examples Include:

1. All of the criteria for Anorexia Nervosa are met except the individual has regular menses.

2. All of the criteria for Anorexia Nervosa are met except that, despite substantial weight loss, the individual's current weight is in the normal range.

3. All of the criteria for Bulimia Nervosa are met except binges occur at a frequency of less than twice a week or for duration of less than 3 months.

4. An individual of normal body weight who regularly engages in inappropriate compensatory behavior after eating small amounts of food (e.g., self-induced vomiting after the consumption of two cookies).

5. An individual, who repeatedly chews and spits out, but does not swallow, large amounts of food.

6. Recurrent episodes of binge eating in the absence of the regular use of inappropriate compensatory behaviors characteristic of bulimia nervosa.


The diagnosis of an eating disorder can be difficult. The boundaries between normal and disordered eating are difficult to delineate at times. Many individuals with clearly disordered eating do not meet the formal diagnostic criteria for one of the specific disorders and are classified as having Eating Disorder NOS. The failure to meet formal criteria does not necessarily mean that the individual does not have a serious and significant disorder. Formal evaluations for diagnosis and treatment should only be made by qualified mental health practitioners.


Men & Disorder

Basic Facts and Findings

Approximately 7-10 million women across the country suffer from eating disorders. Most research into these serious disorders has been conducted on females. However, as many as a million men may also struggle with the diseases!

Eating disorders include extreme attitudes, emotions and behaviors surrounding both food and weight issues. They include anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and binge eating disorder. All are serious emotional and physical problems that can have devastating effects and life-threatening consequences. These disorders affect both men and women. While eating disorders are less common in men, approximately 10% of those suffering from eating disorders are male (Wolf, 1991). Studies also demonstrate that cultural and media pressures on men for the "ideal body" are the rise. This increased focus on body shape, size and physical appearance will likely contribute to increased numbers of eating disorder in males. Research indicates that eating disorders in males are clinically similar to eating disorders in females (Schneider & Argas, 1987).

Studies also demonstrate that certain athletic activities appear to put males at risk for developing eating disorders. Body builders, wrestlers, dancers, swimmers, runners, rowers, gymnasts and jockeys are prone to eating disorder due to the weigh restrictions necessitated by their sports (Andersen, Bartlett, Morgan & Rowena, 1995).

Body image concerns appear to be one the strongest variables in predicting eating disorders in males. Studies have demonstrated (Wertheim et al, 1992) that the drive for thinness was a more important predictor of weight loss behaviors than psychological and/or family variables (this desire was true of both adolescent males and females).

Other studies have found that men with eating disorders tend to have more passive-aggressive personality styles and have had negative reactions to their bodies from their peers while growing up. Research also indicates that anorexic males tend to have more dependent and avoidant personalities. Males with anorexia do not tend conform to the cultural expectations for masculinity such as: to be competitiveness, muscularity/strength, physical aggressiveness, independence and competence in athletics (Kearney-Cooke & Steichen-Asch, 1990).

We are learning more about the etiology of eating disorders in males every day. It is important to remember that the devastating effects of eating disorders cross gender lines and severely impact the health and well-being of both men and women. Further, it is important that those suffering seek help!

Anorexia Nervosa in Males: Anorexia is a life-threatening disorder that is characterized by self-starvation and excessive weight loss.

Some Symptoms include:

Bulimia Nervosa is characterized by a highly secretive cycle of binge eating followed by purging. Bulimia includes eating large amounts of food (more than most people would eat in a meal) in a short period, then getting rid of the food and calories through vomiting, excessive exercise, or laxative abuse.

Some Symptoms include:

Compulsive Overeating is characterized by periods of uncontrolled, impulsive or continuous eating beyond the point of feeling full. While there is no purging, there may be fasts or repetitive diet attempts. Often there are feelings of shame and self-hatred after a binge.

Other eating disorders may include some combination of signs and symptoms of anorexia, bulimia, and/or compulsive overeating. These behaviors may not meet the clinical criteria of an "eating disorder"; however, they can still be extremely dangerous physically and psychologically. All forms of eating disorders require professional help.

For more information on males with eating disorders go to:

*Information provided by the Eating Disorder Referral and Information Center is not a substitute for medical treatment or psychological care. It is vital that you talk with your physician and a qualified mental health professional regarding eating disorder symptoms and treatment.


Self-Assessment for Anorexia

The following Self-Assessment for Anorexia will help you decide how to proceed. While being symptom-free does not guarantee that a person is disease-free, if you answer "YES" to two or more of the following, you should talk to your doctor about the need for a more thorough examination and testing. (Answer Yes/No)

Source: Horus Global HealthNet.




Don't run yourself into the ground

Each one of these headings has more information at

Researchers found that almost 18 per cent of a sample group of the women - selected from various sources, including aerobics classes, sports centers and running clubs - showed signs of exercise addiction. A further 14 per cent were not working out as excessively but were said to be suffering from anorexia or bulimia nervosa.

The Distress of Dieting

Weight and/or body fat restrictions are imposed in a number of sports including wrestling, gymnastics, distance running, cross-country skiing, ballet, and figure skating. A light physique often gives athletes a distinct edge in performance. In gymnastics for example, the ideal image has shrunk from sturdy muscularity to a razor-thin girlish look.

How to Identify an Athlete with Anorexia Nervosa or Bulimia

Being "skinny" does not necessarily mean one has anorexia nervosa, just as being ideal weight does not necessarily mean one is healthy. An athlete with anorexia nervosa or bulimia may continue to perform well for a longer-than-expected time due to sheer determination combined with the body's remarkable ability to adapt to adverse circumstances.

Safe Weight Loss

In recent years the Athletic Association has published a great deal of information on proper nutrition and weight control. The ACSM recommends 12%-14% body fat as the minimum safe percent body fat for high school girls.

Weighing In

Experts say eating disorders, diet and nutrition weigh heavy on scale of issues affecting college student-athletes

Thin is in, and that's a fact of life not lost on student-athletes. "Everyone's concerned right now because so many of the TV stars are quite thin," said Ann C. Grandjean, founder and director of the International Center for Sports Nutrition. "It's given everybody a false idea of reality."

Olympic hopeful nearly dashed dreams with eating disorder

Whitney Spannuth of Vanderbilt thought that eating less was what a cross-country runner did. She could control her own body weight and run faster. Her theory worked for nearly two years before it fell apart, as eating disorders nearly ended her Olympic dreams.

Silent Edge: Advocacy for figure skaters

Silent Edge provides information and links of interest for those concerned about sexual abuse and exploitation in figure skating (and in all sports), and other advocacy issues for skaters. We also seek to engage the skating community in action for skater advocacy.

Eating Disorders and Figure Skaters

Brief piece on possible dangers of anorexia in figure skating

Bulimic Behaviors Among wrestlers

The sport of wrestling places demands for- a slim, lean body build. Wrestlers are known for their extreme weight cutting practices in order to obtain this lean build.

What is the prevalence of eating disorders among female athletes?

Athletes are among the quickest, strongest, most flexible people in the world, so one would expect them to adhere to the latest health and fitness information, right? Not always. The problem is that the athletes often believe that more fit equals less fat.

Reverse Anorexia in Bodybuilders

One growing sport, bodybuilding, now has the sixth largest sports federation and has come to the attention of researchers. In the last few years, researchers have linked bodybuilding to an overwhelming drive for lean muscle mass coined "reverse anorexia" by Pope, Katz, and Hudson (1993) and "bigameraria" by Taylor(1985).

Eating disorders not worth an athlete's life

Why are eating disorders so common in female athletes? I know that the prevalence of disordered eating is 62 percent or more and that athletes in swimming, gymnastics, dance and figure skating are at higher risk for development of eating disorders. But, why my friends? Why people I know and care about?

The Perfect Ballet Body

Jill Cheever had everything going for her. At five feet three inches tall and 105 pounds, the petite blonde had a jubilant personality that infected everyone around her. No one would have thought she was plagued by a common but rarely mentioned, deadly disease--a disease that can be cured.

Body image produces a distorted picture

It can happen at the highest level. The current European cross-country champion, Sara Wedlund, is a self-confessed anorexic, while Lucy Hassell, the British international runner, became so thin that she was forced to use a wheelchair.

Sports help girls avoid sex, study says

Young female athletes are more likely to be virgins, and those who aren't virgins begin sex at a later age, have sex less often, have fewer sex partners and are more likely to use contraceptives than female non-athletes. The same cannot be said for male athletes, according to a study released Wednesday by the Women's Sports Foundation.

Weight and diet concerns in Finnish female and male athletes.

The results confirmed that the risk for eating disorders is dependent on the type of sport. The claim that some female athlete groups are at greater risk than controls did not receive evidence.

Hard physical training at an early age can cause serious bone damage

Accumulated evidence suggests athletic amenorrhoea to be related to energy deficiency or to the eating disorders that are prevalent among athletes. The long-term consequences of amenorrhoea are premature osteoporosis and increased risk of musculoskeletal injury.

Grand Rapids athlete tells how she battled anorexia

She recovered by getting help from a professional dietitian, by getting scared while reading stories about anorexia patients with whom she identified, and by finally realizing that losing weight had not made her a better or more attractive person.

Dancing: Eating Disorders

Excellent site on eating disorders by Dance Art

Striking the Balance

Sport is an activity that can be enjoyed by all without negative repercussions.

Athletes and Eating Disorders

Surveys of female athletes have found disordered eating from 15 to 62 percent or more

Young Athletes and Eating Disorders

In this InteliHealth interview, Angela Guarda, M.D. explains that this disorder has far-reaching consequences and can eventually lead to athletes giving up their sport, suffering lifelong medical problems and even dying

Melpomene Institute

Melpomene's research, publications and education are dedicated to helping women and girls of all ages and backgrounds link physical activity and health.

Eating Disorders and Gymnastics

Why are eating disorders more prevalent among athletes in general?

On Dancing and Eating Disorders

Leukemia drug linked to death

A drug, known as EPO, designed to treat leukemia emerged today as one of the main suspects in the death from heart failure of the sprinter Flo-Jo.

Bodybuilders fret 'flip side' of anorexia

That perception is called muscle dysmorphia, a newly identified psychiatric disorder that might be the flip side of anorexia.

Eating Disorders: A Guide for coaches, parents and friends

The recent death of an Olympic gymnast drives home the sad but true message that athletes die from eating disorders. Be it anorexia or bulimia, these life-threatening conditions are taking their toll on even Olympians. Given that about one-third of female athletes and a smaller number of males struggle with food, bizarre eating habits can seem almost normal among sports-active people.


Female Athletic Triad

Sports Medicine Feature: The Female Athlete Triad

Female Athlete Triad was identified in 1992 and is defined by disordered eating leading to amenorrhea and eventually osteoporosis. It most frequently affects those engaged in endurance sports, such as running and swimming, or activities where appearance is important, such as figure skating, diving, and gymnastics.

The Female Athlete: An Update

The triad of disorders which are often interrelated include: disordered eating, amenorrhea, and osteoporosis. In 1997, the ACSM published a position stand on this topic and includes the following statements

Team Management of the Female Athlete Triad

The female athlete triad of disordered eating, amenorrhea, and osteoporosis affects many active women and girls, especially those in sports that emphasize appearance or leanness. Because of the athlete's psychological defense mechanisms and the stigma surrounding disordered eating, physicians may need to ask targeted questions about nutrition habits when assessing a patient who has a stress fracture or amenorrhea, or during preparticipation exams.

Speaker warns about triad

Women who have any thoughts of having children later on in life put dents in this thought if they develop amenorrhea. Women need about 7 percent more body fat than men do in order to bear children. The body realizes that it will be incapable of supporting another life.

Female Athlete Triad

A preventable disorder which is under recognized.



Eating Disorder Referral and Information Center,

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It seems to me that our three basic needs, for food and security and love, are so mixed and mingled and entwined that we cannot straightly think of one without the others. - M. F. K. Fisher


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