Eating disorder symptoms in middle-aged and older men

Int J Eat Disord. 2016 Oct;49(10):953-957. doi: 10.1002/eat.22550. Epub 2016 May 13.


Objective: Few studies have assessed symptoms of eating disorders in older men.

Method: We administered anonymous questionnaires to 470 men, aged 40-75 years, in and around Innsbruck, Austria, to assess eating behavior, body image, and exercise activities. We defined current eating disorder symptoms (EDS) as (1) BMI < 18.5; (2) binge eating; (3) binge eating and purging; or (4) purging without binge eating.

Results: Of the 470 men, 32 (6.8%) reported one of the four eating disorder symptoms. The 32 men with eating disorder symptoms, compared to the 438 men with normal eating, showed significantly greater pathology on scales assessing eating behavior, exercise addiction, satisfaction with body shape, and weight. However, the EDE-Q cutoff score for eating disturbance identified only three (9%) of the EDS men.

Discussion: Symptoms of disordered eating, sometimes involving purging via excessive exercise, do occur in older men, and may be missed by conventional instruments. © 2016 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.(Int J Eat Disord 2016; 49:953-957).

Keywords: binge eating; body dissatisfaction; eating disorder symptoms; men; midlife; older adult.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Body Image*
  • Body Weight
  • Bulimia / epidemiology
  • Exercise
  • Feeding Behavior
  • Feeding and Eating Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Self Concept
  • Self Report
  • Surveys and Questionnaires