Stereotype: Hindrance or Help?
By Christopher Clark, Executive Director, N.A.M.E.D.
NAPLES, FL - The limited coverage of males with eating disorders in the media and literature gives the impression that men who are obsessed with building a muscular, yet thin, so called “V-shaped” body are the only type of men who fall victim to eating disorders.
While studies show boys and men tend to be more concerned with body “shape” than with “thinness” as are women, this generalization cannot be applied to all men with eating disorders. There are men with eating disorders who have no interest in weight lifting.
The common misconception that only females are affected by eating disorders is just as false as saying only males who are bodybuilders and athletes get eating disorders.
Identifying high risk sub-groups in a disease population is meant to help health care professionals understand the connection between cause and effect in diseases. Such understanding offers guidance in diagnosing illnesses and helps in developing prevention education programs. However, the danger of discussing high risk sub-groups in a disease population is that the general public thinks these sub-groups are the only individuals at risk.
Eating disorders are serious, complex illnesses that affect an individual’s mental and physical health. Obsessions with food, exercise, appearance, and weight are only manifestations of deeper internal emotional issues. These emotional conflicts, not some sub-group in the population, should be the primary defining features of an eating disorder.
So, you need not be a bodybuilder or athlete to have an eating disorder. Having an eating disorder is a lonely place to be, and it only seems worse, if you feel different from the portrayed stereotype.
Respond to this Article
More News >>