Check out this statistic: According to the International Journal of Eating Disorders, 1-in-10 people have a tendency to binge eat during their lifetime, meaning they rapidly consume huge amounts of food, often in private, because they feel ashamed or depressed about being overweight. And get this: Men are just as likely as women to be binge eaters.
Surprised? Ruth Striegel is a professor of psychology at Wesleyan University, who led this new study. She says a lot of experts were caught off guard by the study, because the general perception is that binge eating is “just a women’s problem.” That’s because you rarely hear about men who binge on food and doctors rarely look for signs of out-of-control eating in their male patients.
In fact, Striegel says the biggest difference between bingeing men and bingeing women is that men are less likely to think they have a problem, so they’re less likely to seek treatment! That’s why Striegel describes binge eating men as “a hidden problem” in our society. She says there’s been so little research on the topic that most eating disorder treatment programs still have no guidelines for helping men who binge.
But binging is just as dangerous for men as it is for women. In fact, this new study found that even if you binge just once a month, you’re more likely to be obese, depressed, have sleeping problems, and be less productive at work. That’s why experts hope studies like this will help spread the word that binging IS a problem for men, and maybe encourage more men to get help.
Want to go further? Go to NationalEatingDisorders.org.
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