Eating Disorders Awareness Week 2023

27 February – 5 March 2023

You are not alone

What is Eating Disorders Awareness Week?

Eating Disorders Awareness Week is a moment for all to reflect on eating disorders, tackle stigma, and learn how we can address and overcome barriers to ensure that recovery becomes possible for all.

The theme for Eating Disorders Awareness Week is set by UK eating disorders charity, Beat. Over the years, they have inspired the sector to look at themes such as medical training in eating disorders, the Binge Eating Disorder diagnosis, and spotlighted diversity in eating disorders to overcome harmful myths and stereotypes.

Show your support for Eating Disorders Awareness Week 2023 by visiting Beat’s new fundraising challenge, Twogether.

Man outdoors looking at camera
Man looking into the sunset

2023’s EDAW Campaign

This year, Eating Disorders Awareness Week is shining a light on men and eating disorders.

It’s important for us to flag that when we say “men” here, we are referring to anyone who identifies as a male.

Eating disorders do not discriminate. Anyone, of any age, gender, race, or background can develop one at any point in their life.

Beat believes that 1.25 million people in the UK after affected by an eating disorder, of which, 25% are understood to be male. Moreover, research has demonstrated that eating disorders last a third longer in men than they do women.

Despite this, historically men have often been left outside of the narrative when it comes to eating disorders. We understand this as a symptom of a wider problem in how we assess eating disorders and the severity of suffering.

Eating disorders in men

The 2019 NHS Health Survey for England found that 13% of men in England had a potential eating disorder.

Whilst awareness of eating disorders has changed over the years, more and more men are recognized as living with an eating disorder. Since 2016, hospital admissions for eating disorders in boys and young men have increased by 128%.

The myths and misconceptions around eating disorders has created a stereotype for what an eating disorder ‘looks’ like. Often, this person is a white, middle-class female living with restrictive eating disorder symptoms. However, we know that eating disorders are much more nuanced and complex than this, and anyone can suffer from one.

In not conforming to the stereotype, men face unique barriers to both recognizing they have a problem and accessing support.

Many men with eating disorders can feel too ashamed to visit their GP due to myths and stereotypes surrounding the illness. And even if they do, when diagnosing them their GPs may not consider anorexia or bulimia. This is because their BMI might be in the normal range, which can be misleading when trying to diagnose an eating disorder.

Most common forms of eating disorders in men

The US non-profit organization, National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA), states that binge eating disorder is the most common eating disorder in men (36%), followed by bulimia (25%) and anorexia (25%) equally.

Co-occurring conditions are also common in males, such as depression, substance abuse, anxiety,y and excessive exercise.

Eating disorders can manifest differently in men

The underestimation of how many men there are struggling is likely due to the fact that there’s no one way to have an eating disorder. 

The more nuanced symptoms of an eating disorder in a man may go overlooked, especially if these symptoms reflect ‘values’ of modern life that are celebrated and idolized. 

Eating disorders in women are commonly associated with a desire for thinness and weight loss. But the same is not as often true for men.

For instance, over-exercising or eating healthily (e.g. “clean eating”) may be understood as someone simply trying to be “healthy”, when in fact they are pushing their body to the extreme or putting their relationships at risk in order to maintain a regimented lifestyle.

A restrictive relationship to food can be rebranded as ‘cutting’ and ‘bulking’, going on a ‘detox’ or ‘cleanse’. If these come at the consequence of someone’s mental and physical health, these are warning signs of a bigger problem.

Male intersectionality and eating disorders

LGBTQ and minority ethnic adults and adolescents experience a higher incidence of eating disorders and disordered eating behaviours compared to their straight and cisgender peers.

This is because these communities often experience greater levels of stress, discrimination, violence, bullying, social pressure to conform and higher levels of isolation. These challenges make LGBTQ+ individuals more likely to experience mental health struggles, especially if their identity isn’t affirmed by their loved ones or they have experienced trauma.

Similarly, each community may have additional pressures to conform to certain body standards, which can contribute to a heightened awareness of body image.

"Men are left out in the narrative with eating disorders and subsequently suffer in silence. This is a symptom of a wider problem in how we assess eating disorders and the severity of suffering. Tools such as the Body Mass Index (BMI) are too heavily relied upon to quantify how much someone is suffering. This excludes a huge population of people who may not fit perpetuating stereotypes of an eating disorder. The fact is, eating disorders are far more nuanced and complex, meaning that we cannot take a black and white view on what it means to have a problem. We are encouraging people to observe others’ behaviours closely and with kindness, look beyond the typical symptoms to the underlying emotional context, and take action so that people aren’t left alone in their difficulty. Men, we are here to hear you.”

Kerrie Jones, CEO & Founder

Orri & EDAW 2023

Eating disorders do not discriminate, yet men face unique barriers to accessing specialist support.

We are calling on the community to remember your #BROS, highlighting the importance of action, education, mindful conversation, and the opportunity that comes from challenging the narrative around how people can be impacted by an eating disorder.

BROS acronym in Orri's font

Smiling woman

Remember your #BROS

We invite the community to remember the importance of language and early intervention by remembering your #BROS:

Banter Mindfully: be mindful of your use of language around appearance

Recognise Responsibility: notice your role and the opportunity for early intervention

Observe Behaviours: pay close attention to radical changes of behaviour, don’t dismiss or minimise

Support & Signpost: take action and with kindness. Signpost to external support if needed

Young people sitting

A MANifesto for change

Your bros need you, and you need you. Here’s our MANifesto for change to ensure men get the support they need, when they need it.


  1. Notice radical changes & consider why
  2. Ask then ask again
  3. Be compassionate, be kind, be curious
  4. Educate yourself & your bros about eating disorders
  5. Check the banter
  6. Be aware of the help that is out there


  1. Assume anything
  2. Underestimate your impact or take the easy route
  3. Be a ‘fixer’ or the ‘solutions-guy’
  4. Be an enabler
  5. Body shame
  6. Ignore this mental health epidemic

Special events

How Orri can help

Orri is a Specialist Treatment Service for Eating Disorders. We treat individuals aged 16+ with anorexia, bulimia, binge eating disorder and other eating disorder diagnoses and co-occurring conditions. 

Offering face-to-face treatment, both in person and online, programmes follow a stepped approach so that treatment evolves with each individual client as they progress in recovery.

At the heart of the Orri team is the belief that recovery is possible for all. We work collaboratively to provide expert, evidence-based treatment with kindness and compassion at its core. 

There’s no ‘one way’ to have a problem, so there’s no ‘one way’ to have treatment. Here, we treat the underlying causes of the illness that are unique to that individual – not just the physical symptoms.

We are more than a treatment provider, we are a recovery community.


What percentage of the UK population has an eating disorder?

Approximately 25% of the 1.25 million people in the UK with an eating disorder is male.

When is Eating Disorder Awareness Week in the UK 2023?

Monday 27th February – Sunday 5th March 2023.

What age is most likely to have an eating disorder?

Anyone of any age can develop an eating disorder, however, they often develop between the ages of 16-35. Eating disorders can often manifest during life challenges and transition periods.

What are the reasons people develop an eating disorder?

Certain factors may increase the risk of developing an eating disorder, including:

  1. Family history. Research suggests that 50-80% of a person’s risk can be explained by genetic factors
  2. Social factors. Life experiences or milestones, particularly moments of transition (like moving schools, homes, loss or divorce) can create emotional distress
  3. Other mental health diagnoses or psychological factors. Eating disorders often co-occur with other mental health diagnoses such as anxiety, depression, OCD, and personality disorders
  4. Experiencing trauma. Negative life experiences – whether they are sudden or more drawn out – can cause emotional distress that prompts someone to cope through food
What does anorexia do to the male body?

Men with Anorexia often experience lower testosterone due to the impact of food restriction and weight loss on the body. Other common physical side affects include low energy, feeling cold, low and irregular heartbeat, dry skin and hair loss.

Can guys have an eating disorder?

Yes. Anyone of any gender can develop an eating disorder.

If you have concerns about your relationship to food and your body, simply reach out. We’re here to talk it through.

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