It's the stereotypical image of an eating disorder: a young female who is extremely thin.
But in reality, that’s not always the case.
“Eating disorders come in all shapes and sizes,” says Mayo Clinic child psychologist Dr Leslie Sim in the United States.
She says 10% of anorexia cases and 30% of patients with binge-eating disorders are males.
“Men are also subject to a lot of the cultural messages in our society about leanness and muscularity, and being thin,” she says.
Dr Sim notes that roughly a quarter of people who struggle with eating disorders are also racial minorities (in the US).
“Unfortunately, the stereotype again, is quite harmful in that we think eating disorders only affect young, thin girls and women.
“And that, I think, deters a lot of people from getting help,” she says.
No matter what your gender or race is, eating disorders can have life-threatening complications.
“If they are concerned at all that their eating is starting to get in the way of their life in any way, then what I’d like them to know is that eating disorders are very treatable conditions,” says Dr Sim.
“And the earlier people seek help, oftentimes the more treatable they are.” – Mayo Clinic News Network/Tribune News Service