Eating disorders among men and boys was the focus of a wide-ranging and fascinating study day with Professor J Morgan on June 27.
Prof Morgan came to Newbridge House for the third event in the Master Class series, established to bring together eating disorders practitioners from different services for high quality training.
The day began by consideration of the apparent rise in male eating disorders. Participants discussed whether rising figures represent an increase in numbers, or rather a growth in awareness.
“What is clear is that younger men today are more vulnerable than they used to be to body image disparagement and to the the desire to reshape their bodies,” explained Prof Morgan.
There was reflection on how male anorexia tends to be driven by the desire to re-shape the body and built muscularity, rather than the aim of weight loss. This means male anorexia is under-diagnosed because classification is framed around characteristics more common to female anorexia.
There are implications for ED services, Prof Morgan explained. “We recognise that the longer eating disorders persist, the harder they become to treat. Because men and boys often come into treatment later, they can be perceived as more ‘difficult’ simply because their disorder is more entrenched.”
There was small group work considering a range of men’s magazines and the impact they can have on boys’ identity and self-esteem. Groups considered best approaches for primary prevention strategies.
Afternoon sessions covered compulsive exercise, muscle dysmorphia, obesity and binge eating disorder.
Professor Hubert Lacey, Medical Director for Newbridge House, who worked with Prof Morgan at St George’s, London and invited him to talk, commented: “Professor Morgan is recognised as the UK’s leading authority on male eating disorders. He is also known as a very active researcher and as someone who combines academic work with clinical leadership.
“He is also a highly regarded speaker and we are very grateful that Professor Morgan has joined us for this study day, which had been popular and over-subscribed.
“The programme was wide-ranging, stimulating and very enjoyable and I know, from feedback today, has been extremely well received.”
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