Boys Can Have Eating Disorders Too

Filed under: Medical Conditions, In The News, Nutrition: Big Kids, Nutrition: Tweens, Nutrition: Teens

It's not unusual to hear about a teen girl who has an eating disorder or anorexia, but what people don't always realize is that boys can become alarmingly obsessed with their bodies, too. And it's just as serious. Dr. Phil spoke to two young men this week, talking about how eating disorders have taken over their lives.

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Fifteen-year-old Eric, for example, is obsessed with having zero percent body fat. He is very, very afraid of what food will do to his body. Eric's need for control over his food is so severe that he's involved his entire family in his mealtime issues, throwing a tantrum if a meal isn't cooked to his specifications. Then there's Troy, 22, a health teacher -- no kidding -- who obsesses over calories and is constantly cold from his lack of body fat.

"Everything has to be prepared exactly the way he wants it," Eric's mom Becky says. "He eats egg whites, and I have to crack the egg and kind of toggle the yolk back and forth and get all the egg white out, but if that egg yolk breaks a little bit, and he sees a little bit of yellow in there, I have to throw it away. So, we end up throwing away a lot of things if I do it wrong. It's a lot of pressure when you're the cook, that's for sure. It's not fun."

Though I don't think that Eric's parents set out to be encourage his obsession, they've clearly entered enabling territory. Not only does Eric's mom have to use different utensils to cook Eric's food -- nothing, nothing he doesn't eat is allowed to touch his food -- but he also has his own drawers and shelves in the fridge. And you thought your kid was picky.

Dr. Phil says that as many as one million young men suffer from eating disorders, but often don't get the help they need. If you think you or someone you love may be at risk, here are the warning signs.

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AdviceMama Says:
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.