A national eating disorder organisation, The Butterfly Foundation, has launched a digital body image program for adolescent boys called RESET. The program is designed to give boys the opportunity to talk about the pressures they face and concerns they experience in relation to body image
Dr Scott Griffiths, who researches body image, eating disorder and muscle dysmorphia in boys, said:
“We have understood for many years that body image is an issue many girls (and women) experience, but what about boys? Evidence tells us that males are consistently underrepresented in messaging and interventions in relation to body dissatisfaction and eating disorders which can have a devastating impact on boys’ help seeking.
To mitigate the risk of eating disorders developing at a young age, we must normalise conversations about body image with all genders. RESET is about reducing stigma around body image and eating disorders and supporting young men to find their voice and ask for help.”
One of the contributors to the program, Mitch Doyle, who struggled with negative body image and an eating disorder, said:
“Now that I have recovered, I keep thinking I wish I’d spoken to someone sooner so I didn’t have to feel this way for as long as I did. If the RESET program was at my school, perhaps it would have saved me from over a decade of pain and secrecy. Maybe then I would have realised I wasn’t alone and better understood how to deal with bullying about weight, size and shape that I believe contributed to my eating disorder.”
Another contributor, Thomas Conron, said:
“If this helps boys who are struggling with their eating or body image I would see it as a very worthwhile cause, because I understand from personal experience how anxiety and stress can build up and cause us to have distorted ideas about ourselves and how others view us.”
Statistics About Male Body image and Eating Disorders
- Over-exercising and an extreme pursuit for muscle growth are often perceived as healthy behaviours for males
- 90% of adolescent boys report that they exercise primarily to gain muscle
- Two thirds of adolescent boys report making specific changes to their diet to gain muscle
- 25% of people experiencing Anorexia Nervosa and Bulimia Nervosa are male
- Almost an equal number of males and females experience binge eating disorder
- Eating disorders have one of the highest mortality rates of all psychiatric disorders and suicide rates are 20% higher in eating disorder patients than in the general population.
Source: Butterfly Foundation