Monday 24 July 2017

Hidden epidemic of male eating disorders revealed with surge in numbers seeking urgent support

It is estimated up to 200,000 people in Ireland may be affected by eating disorders. Photo: PA
It is estimated up to 200,000 people in Ireland may be affected by eating disorders. Photo: PA

Gavin White

Eating disorders "are not unique to females", with the number of men seeking help increasing, a national support group has said.

Bodywhys Ireland said that 10pc of all meetings in support groups were attended by men, while there has been a 57pc increase in requests for support.

It is estimated up to 200,000 people in Ireland may be affected by eating disorders, while an estimated 400 new cases emerge each year, representing 80 deaths annually according to figures released by the Department of Health.

Attendance

"Looking at male attendance at support groups, it's clear that eating disorders are not unique to females," Harriet Parsons, training and development manager with Bodywhys Ireland, said.

"There are many people who have been living with an eating disorder for a long time, but recovery is possible.

"We want to reach people, to ensure that they hear this message," Ms Parsons said.

Contact

She said that a total of 34pc of people who contacted the group have experienced an eating disorder for more than 10 years.

Eating Disorder Awareness Week runs from today until Sunday, March 5.

Irish Independent

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