Men and Eating Disorders

Men and Eating Disorders

Typically when we talk about eating disorders such as Anorexia or Bulimia we picture a young girl, and assume that these illnesses really only affect females; it's a womans iillness! 

This stereotype that surrounds eating disorders is not true - anyone of any gender can develop an eating disorder. Statistically there are more females recorded within offical statistics, however growing evidence suggests that males account for between 10% and 25% of all eating disorder cases; this may be higher however males are less likely to come forward and seek help for such illnesses due to the stigma and the negative stereotypes that surround these disorders for fear of being labeled as having a womans illness. As a result, men have become underreported, underdiagnosed and undertreated in the field of eating disorders. This does not have to be the case!

Work by organisations such as The Laurence Trust and Men Get Eating Disorders Too have dedicated time and effort to raising awareness of eating disorders in men and boys, and have created support services dedicated to males with eating disorders in Northern Ireland and the UK.



  • Between 10% - 25% of all eating disorders are males, however as men do not come forward this figure could be as high as 50%
  • Recent reports  from the Royal College of Practitioners have  indicated a 66 per cent rise of male hospital admissions
  • Eating disorders in children under 10 are more likely to affect boys than girls
  • Age of onset for males is most likely between 14 and 25
  • Males are less likely to be diagnosed early with an eating disorder
  • Eating disorder symptoms can be easily missed in males as weight loss is not always a primary indicator for disordered eating in males
  • Males with eating disorders are more likely to purge and exercise more than female counterparts
  • Men are less likely to seek help or talk about their illness as eating disorders a a female illness - howver delays in seeking help can have significant effects on help and well-being. 

If you are a male with an eating disorder it is important that you speak to someone as these illnesses have significant physical and psychological issues that can have a long-term and severe impact on your health. The sooner you speak to someone and get help, the more successful outcomes will be. Work with The Laurence Trust and Men Get Eating Disorders Too has ensured that professionals across Northern Irleand who work with eating disorders are trained and aware of male eating disorders. We are working together to better inform society that eating disorders are genderless and can affect males just as much as females.

If you are a male with an eating disorder you can get in touch and discuss the options of support and dealing with an eating disorder. Just call one of our team on 02890 235959 or email in confidence 

Eating Disorder Association NI
28 Bedford Street,
Belfast, BT2 7FE
Phone: 028 9023 5959