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The prevalence and impact of eating disorder behaviours in Australian men

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Objective

To determine sex differences in the prevalence and associated impairment of eating disorder (ED) features over time.

Method

Cross-sectional surveys of randomly selected adults were carried out in 1998 (n = 3010) and 2008 (n = 3034). Outcomes included self-reported health-related quality of life (HRQoL), objective and subjective binge eating, extreme dieting, purging, and overevaluation of weight or shape.

Results

Men represented 23 - 41% of participants who reported ED features. Objective binge eating was associated with greater reductions in mental HRQoL in men compared to women (p < 0.05), whereas overevaluation of weight or shape was associated with greater reductions in HRQoL in women compared to men (p < 0.05). The prevalence of extreme dieting and purging increased at a faster rate in men compared to women (p = 0.03), whereas the rate of increase in objective binge eating was similar between the sexes (p > 0.05). Mental HRQoL impairment associated with binge eating had increased over time for men but not for women (p < 0.05).

Conclusions

The gender gap in the prevalence and impact of ED behaviours may be closing. Implications include the need for more gender-neutral public health campaigns and interventions, and the active inclusion of male participants in ED research.

This abstract was presented in the Disordered Eating – Characteristics & Treatment stream of the 2013 ANZAED Conference.

Author information

Correspondence to Deborah Mitchison.

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This article is published under license to BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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Mitchison, D., Mond, J., Slewa-Younan, S. et al. The prevalence and impact of eating disorder behaviours in Australian men. J Eat Disord 1, O23 (2013) doi:10.1186/2050-2974-1-S1-O23

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Keywords

  • Eating Disorder
  • Great Reduction
  • Disorder Behaviour
  • Eating Disorder
  • Binge Eating