Stories about: Alison Field

Eating disorders affect boys, gay and lesbian youth

“When asked to conjure an image of a patient living with an eating disorder, I imagine many people picture a young, thin woman. This reflects two common stereotypes: that eating disorders only affect women, and that all people with eating disorders are low-weighted. In fact, clinical experience and an evolving field of research show that many males struggle with eating disorders,” says Scott Hadland, MD, MPH, fellow in Adolescent Medicine at Boston Children’s Hospital.

Similarly, parents and health care providers may see gay, lesbian and bisexual youth in terms of their sexual identities and forget that these teens may face body image and weight control issues as well.

Two recent studies published by researchers at Boston Children’s debunk these stereotypes and may change the way parents and providers think about eating disorders and risky weight control behaviors in all teens.

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Is the media’s obsession with obesity increasing eating disorders?

From the schoolhouse to the White House, everyone is talking about America’s childhood obesity epidemic. And while raising awareness on the issue is vital, is it possible that our obsession with the topic is causing some kids to go in the opposite direction? According to data released by the American Academy of Pediatrics, the answer may be yes.

The journal Pediatrics recently published a study that shows eating disorders in young children are on the rise, especially among children younger than 12 years old. What’s worse, the degree of the disorders may be intensifying; the study showed a 119 percent increase in eating disorder hospitalizations among preteens when compared to data collected in the mid 1990s. The fact that these numbers surfaced around the time the media took such an interest in obesity has some people wondering if there’s a correlation.

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