Disordered eating in boys: BEYOND THE DSM-IV

Statement of the Problem

This study focuses on the prevalence of eating disorders, such as anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa and binge eating disorder, in boys. This disease is usually viewed as occurring in girls. Concurrently, males being victims of this disease brings more awareness to the issue.

Review of the Literature

The literature explores disordered eating behaviors in boys and how they may be reluctant to seek care, because of the perception that it is a problem only for girls. The study assessed how disordered eating risk factors for boys differ from girls but have some similarities. The example is used about how a varsity wrestler worried about being under the weight limit for a tournament may develop an eating disorder, based on the stress of his athletic requirements. This can be compared to a girl wanting to be thin to fit into her cheerleading uniform, which may trigger an eating disorder by her becoming obsessed with losing weight. The study highlights how characteristics of the disease in boys can be recognized, diagnosed, treated and managed.


The method of research used for this study was surveying and interviewing, including a school-based survey with over 4,700 adolescent male participants filling out questionnaires about their perceptions of their body images, eating habits, eating problems and other probing questions to identify the presence of eating disorders.

Results and Conclusions

Research results concluded that a significant percentage of boys are just as much at risk for developing eating disorders as girls, and this is a growing concern. However, a solution includes removing the stigma that this is a disease for girls, and helping boys with the disease focus on healthier choices than just losing weight such as gaining muscle and eating healthy.



Chung, R. J., & Bravender, T. (2011). Disordered eating in boys: BEYOND THE DSM-IV.

Contemporary Pediatrics, 28(12), 26-34.

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