'Manorexia' Is on the Rise

ByABC News via logo
October 6, 2006, 1:52 PM

Oct. 7, 2006— -- Medical researchers are discovering that anorexia is not limited to women and that the idea of starving yourself in order to achieve the perfect body is crossing gender lines.

According to the American Journal of Psychiatry, the ratio of males suffering from eating disorders may be increasing. While eating disorders are most often associated with women, experts estimate that 1 million American men suffer from anorexia.

One young man who developed anorexia was Craig Laue, who wanted to change his image in high school.

After years of being called the "fat kid," he decided to take control and start shedding the weight.

"You get into high school -- not only did I want be a better athlete, but you want to get attention from girls, and you want to fit in," Laue said. "Everybody else is in shape, and I was always a pudgier kid with glasses."

He started exercising more and eating less, going from 210 pounds to as low as 113 pounds in less than a year.

"By the time baseball tryouts came, I had gotten so low that I eventually was cut from the baseball team because I just -- I didn't have the energy to keep up," Laue said.

"We're certainly seeing more eating disorders in men," said Dr. Arnold E. Anderson, director of the Eating Disorders Unit at the University of Iowa College of Medicine.

"Some want to be wiry -- think Mick Jagger. Some want to be lean, muscular Brad Pitt, James Bond," Anderson said. "Some want to be big and chiseled like Arnold [Schwarzenegger], the governor."

While pop culture has flooded impressionable young women for years with glamorous images suggesting thin is in, now it's harder than ever for boys and young men to escape the quest for the perfect body.

"You have these magazines where they're telling you this is the in thing. This is the in thing to wear. This is the way to look. This is the way to wear your hair. This is the way to get your six-pack abs. This is the way to get girls' attention. This is the way to be hunky and sexy," Laue said. "At what cost?"