Early Intervention for Males with Eating Disorders Requires Increased Awareness

Between 25 and 40 percent of people with eating disorders are males (Hudson, 2007). Because of the stigma associated with having a “women’s problem,” however, many men and boys who are suffering with eating disorders do not receive appropriate treatment and may even be denied insurance coverage when treatment is sought. With this in mind, the National Association for Males with Eating Disorders (N.A.M.E.D.) was established in 2006 as a nationwide professional association committed to leadership in the field of eating disorders in males. With new funding, along with a board of directors and advisory board composed of some of the most prominent researchers and clinicians in the world of eating disorders, we are well positioned to make a substantial impact.

Our early intervention initiative is intended to raise awareness about eating disorders in males, with the intention that the public and professional communities increasingly recognize that men and boys, too, suffer from a broad range of problems related to food, weight and body shape. Our outreach is aimed at a wide audience. N.A.M.E.D. representatives attend eating disorders conferences, have an active Internet presence, use social media to share recent lay and research articles, and have affiliations with other major national eating disorders associations.

By advocating within the eating disorders treatment community and the public at large, and by pooling our resources to develop new research initiatives, we hope to create a new, gender-neutral way of thinking about eating disorders.

At present, our efforts have been directed toward developing an increasingly sophisticated presence in cyberspace, with our website National Association for Men with Eating Disorders and social media presence serving as a home base for consumers and professionals seeking to gain information, access to collective expertise and a sense of recognition and refuge from all-too-pervasive stigma. We are organizing a task force to review eating disorder websites for gender inclusiveness and accurate statistics on males and eating disorders. In addition, because recognizing that attention to gender dynamics is crucial to successful treatment, we are developing an online treatment finder that will help consumers find professionals with expertise in treating males with eating disorders. And in the near future, we hope to begin sponsoring inpatient treatment for men and boys with eating disorders who lack the required financial resources.

To learn more, please visit our National Association for Males with Eating Disorders website or social media platforms. And if you’re interested in becoming more involved, please don’t hesitate to contact us for more information.