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Young men with an eating disorder are not getting the help and support they need because of a perceptions about a "women's illness", say researchers.

Ulla Räisänen, Senior Researcher, Health Experiences Research Group, Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Sciences
Ulla Räisänen, Senior Researcher, Health Experiences Research Group, Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Sciences

Researchers from the Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Sciences, University of Oxford and University of Glasgow interviewed 39 young people aged 16 to 25, including 10 men, about their experiences of diagnosis, treatment and support for eating disorders.

The study suggests that men are underdiagnosed and undertreated for anorexia and other eating disorders, despite making up about a quarter of cases. Frontline health workers have a key role in identifying eating disorders in young men, they report.

In men's accounts, misconceptions about eating disorders as a woman's illness still sit tight both among health professionals and men themselves (and others around them).  We believe that primary care professionals are well placed to challenge these preconceptions and offer appropriate, timely and gender-sensitive support for men presenting with signs and symptoms of disordered eating". - Ulla Räisänen, Senior Researcher, Health Experiences Research Group, Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Sciences


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