This year, Eating Disorders Awareness Week is shining a light on men and eating disorders. We’re calling on the eating disorder community to remember your #BROS, along with a MANifesto, case studies, resources and more!
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.
Find out more about their campaign, by visiting Beat’s new fundraising challenge, Twogether.
This year, Eating Disorders Awareness Week is shining a light on men and eating disorders. Why?
Well, 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.
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.
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.
It’s important for us to flag here 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.
Eating disorders manifest differently in men. For example, 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.
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.
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.
Since 2016, hospital admissions for eating disorders in boys and young men have increased by 128%.
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, and excessive exercise.
Orri and EDAW
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.
As an aid to support conversation and awareness, we have created an acronym:
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
We invite you to share this with your community (online or face to face), families and friends, to partake in mindful conversation with your bros on eating disorders and mental health.
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 – think of it as your guide on Dudes and Don’ts…
Notice radical changes & consider why
Ask then ask again
Be compassionate, be kind, be curious
Educate yourself & your bros about eating disorders
Check the banter
Be aware of the help that is out there
Underestimate your impact or take the easy route
Be a ‘fixer’ or the ‘solutions-guy’
Be an enabler
Ignore this mental health epidemic
Find out more about Orri’s campaign for Eating Disorders Awareness Week 2023, here: https://www.orri-uk.com/eating-disorders-awareness-week/
As always, remember your #BROS.