Epidemiology and treatment of eating disorders in men and women of middle and older age

Curr Opin Psychiatry. 2017 Nov;30(6):446-451. doi: 10.1097/YCO.0000000000000356.


Purpose of review: We summarized recent literature on the epidemiology and treatment of eating disorders in middle-aged and older women and men.

Recent findings: The prevalence of eating disorders according to DSM-5 criteria is around 3.5% in older (>40 years) women and around 1-2% in older men. The majority of those eating disordered persons are not in treatment. There are new terms like 'perimenopausal eating disorders' and 'muscularity-oriented eating disorders' indicating the impact of the aging process and sex-specific differences.

Summary: Disordered eating and eating disorders occur in both women and men of all ages. Medical complications because of age, the stigma of eating disorders in a still 'untypical' age, and the glorification of sports activity often hinder the recognition of eating disorders in midlife and older persons. Treatment approaches should consider treatment strategies tailored for older women and men, addressing the context of midlife and aging.

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders
  • Disease Management
  • Feeding and Eating Disorders* / diagnosis
  • Feeding and Eating Disorders* / epidemiology
  • Feeding and Eating Disorders* / therapy
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prevalence