A History of Male Eating Disorders

Many 9-year-old boys spend their time playing football and video games together. Recently, however, Dr. Roberto Olivardia, a clinical psychologist, met several who came to him to discuss their eating disorders instead.

According to Olivardia, the presence of male eating disorders is increasing. Such disorders are also a recent phenomenon, according to his analysis.

“Since the 1600s we had writings about girls who hated their bodies,” said Olivardia.

With men however, such focus on personal appearance did not begin until the 1970s.

“It’s the celebration of male physique,” said Olivardia. “Look at the guys who ruled the box office in the ‘80s…Schwarzenegger, Stallone…”

According to Olivardia, men have increasingly focused on their appearance since this cultural change. Now even action figures present an idealized image of the male body.

As a result, Olivardia now sees boys as young as 9-years-old who are unsatisfied with their bodies and attempting unhealthy measures to change the fact.


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