Study shows why underrepresented men should be included in binge eating research

October 26, 2011

Binge eating is a disorder which affects both men and women, yet men remain underrepresented in research. A new study published in the International Journal of Eating Disorders has found that the medical impact of the disorder is just as damaging to men as it is to women, yet research has shown that the number of men seeking treatment is far lower than the estimated number of sufferers.

"Binge eating is closely linked to obesity and as well as the onset of hypertension, diabetes and such as depression," said lead author Dr Ruth R. Striegel from Wesleyan University, Connecticut. "However most of the evidence about the impact of binge eating is based on female samples, as the majority of studies into eating disorders recruit women."

As so few studies have included men there is concern that men may be reluctant to seek treatment, or may be less likely detect a disorder in a male patient, because eating disorders are widely seen as female problems. Health services report that the number of men who receive treatment for binge eating is well below what would be expected based on estimates of prevalence.

Dr Striegel's team used cross-sectional data from a sample of 21743 men and 24608 women who participated in a health risk self-assessment screening. The team analyzed any differences within the group for obesity, hypertension, dyslipidemia, diabetes, depression and impairment.

The team found that out the 46351 people questioned 1630 men and 2754 women were found to binge eat, defined as experiencing at last one binge episode in the past month. The impact on clinical and mental health as a result of binge eating was found to be comparable between men and women.

This study also indicated that binge eating has an impact on work productively in both men and women, suggesting the need for employers to recognize binge eating as a damaging health risk behavior alongside stress or depression.

"The underrepresentation of men in binge eating research does not reflect lower levels of impairment in men versus women," concluded Striegel. "Efforts are needed to raise awareness of the clinical implications of for men so they can seek appropriate screening and treatment."

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Can nicotine protect the aging brain?

September 20, 2016

Everyone knows that tobacco products are bad for your health, and even the new e-cigarettes may have harmful toxins. However, according to research at Texas A&M, it turns out the nicotine itself—when given independently ...

Science can shape healthy city planning

September 23, 2016

Previous studies have shown a correlation between the design of cities and growing epidemics of injuries and non-communicable diseases such as heart disease, diabetes and cancer. A three-part series published in The Lancet ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.