Teen Boys and Eating Disorders

More and more teenage boys are struggling with something that we typically associate with teen girls—eating disorders.

Ryan Jaslow at CBSNews.com reports on a new study that found almost 1 out of 5 teen boys in the US have extreme concerns about their weight and physique, leading many to engage in risky behaviors

Researchers at Boston Children’s Hospital warn that young males with eating disorders may be falling through the cracks at doctors’ offices.

Study author Allison Field says that physicians may not be aware that some of their male patients are at risk for eating disorders.  She points out that many boys are so preoccupied with their weight and shape that they are using unhealthy methods to achieve the physique they desire.

Dr. Field also points out that parents of boys often don’t realize that an excessive focus on weight and shape could lead to an eating disorder.

Eating disorders frequently coexist with other illnesses, such as depression, substance abuse and anxiety disorders. Other eating disorders include bulimia nervosa and binge-eating disorder.

The researchers found that one out of ten teen boys said they had major concerns with their muscularity.  Some of these boys are using supplements, anabolic steroids or human growth hormone to get their desired physique.

Boys who had high concerns about muscularity were more likely than their peers to start using drugs and binge drinking frequently.

By the way, a survey of almost 3,000 middle and high school teens found more than two-thirds of boys changed their eating habits to increase their muscle size, and 90 percent reported exercising to bulk-up.

To learn more about eating disorders, go to NationalEatingDisorders.org.


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