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The prevalence and impact of eating disorder behaviours in Australian men


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


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.


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).


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.

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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 (, 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 (Suppl 1), O23 (2013).

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