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The number of adult British men being admitted to hospital with an eating disorder has risen by 70 per cent over the last six years mainly due to the pressure for “body perfection” arising from popular culture, official data showed on Monday. National Health Services (NHS) Digital data showed the number of hospital diagnoses in males over 19 years of age rose from 480 in 2010-2011 to 818 between April 2015 and March 2016, reports the Guardian.
The rate of increase was slightly higher among older men, at 70 per cent for the 41-60 age group, compared with 67 per cent in the 26-40 category and 63 per cent among 19- to 25-year-olds. Doctor William Rhys Jones, of the Royal College of Psychiatrists’ eating disorders faculty, said, “Pressure for body perfection is on the rise for men of all ages, which is a risk factor for developing an eating disorder.”
“Images of unhealthy male body ideals in the media place unnecessary pressure on vulnerable people who strive for acceptance through the way they look,” the Guardian quoted Jones as saying. Professor Helen Stokes Lampard, chair of the Royal College of General Practitioners, said the rise was not surprising “when you consider the unrelenting pressures placed on people by popular culture and social media”.
She called for schools, universities and employers to be more aware of the danger signs. “These can include excessive dieting or daily trips to the gym, eating large amounts of food, the inappropriate use of laxatives and obsessions around weight and appearance,” she added.