Disordered Eating Among Male Teens

Reprinted from Eating Disorders Review
November/December 2008 Volume 19, Number 6
©2008 Gürze Books

According to a recent survey of more than 10,000 students, disordered eating behaviors among sexually active teenage males are associated with multiple or same-sex partners. The results suggest that young male adolescents who are highly sexually active may also have underlying eating disorders. Diann M. Ackard, PhD, of the University of Minnesota, and her associates based their conclusions on data from 41,044 male and female 9th and 12th graders who responded anonymously to the Minnesota Study Survey (Psychosom Med. 2008; 70:232).

Disordered eating was most prevalent among teens who reported homosexual and/or bisexual activities. These teens admitted binge eating (21%), fasting (19%), and smoking to control weight (15%). These were followed by diet pill use (6%), vomiting to lose weight (4%), and laxative use (4%).

Dr. Ackard also noted that discomfort with homosexual orientation may cause significant distress and increase the likelihood of maladaptive coping strategies, such as disordered eating.

The authors urge school personnel and health care professionals to provide opportunities for discussion in a respectful and sensitive way that connotes acceptance of all sexual orientations.

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