UK experts have warned that more men than ever are developing eating disorders in their quest for the "perfect" body shape presented to them in the media.
NHS figures in the UK have shown a 66 percent increase in the number of hospital admissions due to eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa and bulimia in the last decade, The Daily Mail reports.
"The pressure these days on guys to have the perfect figure is very similar to that which has and continues to affect women," said a spokesperson for the NHS.
"It's all about losing body fat and getting a six pack, and it comes from the way the male shape is portrayed.
"That perfect figure can be a healthy body image for a man to aspire to; it is when it gets taken to an extreme that we see problems.'
According to the Butterfly Foundation, which supports Australians with eating disorders, 10 percent of all diagnosed cases of eating disorders and 10-15 percent of people with bulimia nervosa are male.
"It is thought that the number of men who experience eating disorders is higher than actually reported due to the stigma attached to eating disorders and it usually being seen as a women's illness," says a factsheet from the Butterfly Foundation.
The foundation urges males who think they may have an eating disorder to seek help as soon as possible
"It can be scary to make this first step, however the earlier help is sought, the quicker the road to recovery," it says.
"It is important that you do not feel shame about what may be happening to you and recognise that an eating disorder is a mental illness and not something that someone chooses to develop."
For more information, visit http://thebutterflyfoundation.org.au
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