Health organisations are warning that body image is a not solely a concern for women, and rightly so.
Pressure to look good and act confident in an increasingly open world of social networking means if you’ve let your healthy eating slip over Christmas, for example, it can feel like the whole world is judging you online.
Celebrities are constantly posting in-your-face before and after pictures, which are then judged by the watching world, leaving the everyday man or woman left questioning their own appearance.
This week, in national Eating Disorders Awareness Week, men are being encouraged to seek help by NHS Leeds West Clinical Commissioning Group following worrying figures from the Health and Social Care Information Centre. They suggest that up to 6.4 per cent of adults have displayed signs of an eating disorder – a quarter of whom are male.
Those figures are nothing to be sniffed at, and, while we rightly give out an olive branch to the thousands of women affected by eating disorders, we shouldn’t forget that conditions like anorexia and bulimia can prey on anyone. Recent reports from the Royal College of General Practitioners indicated a 66 per cent rise of male hospital admissions, with the figure increasing.
As a nation we’re bombarded with the assumed ideal of unattainable Photoshopped physiques thanks to celeb snaps and ‘skinny selfies’, which are neither helpful or healthy.
We have a duty to ourselves to look after our bodies but modern pressures mean it’s easier than ever for us, male or female, to pursue ill-advised goals and develop spiralling eating disorders. There is no shame in seeking help.
Visit mengetedstoo.co.uk for male-specific help or see www.nhs.uk/livewell/eatingdisorders for general advice.