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Hungering for That Elusive Perfect Body

August 07, 1992|ANDREA HEIMAN

The pressure to be thin has led to unhealthy obsessions and dangerous eating disorders among women who starve and purge to maintain an "ideal" weight.

And as men become more concerned with their looks, they too are suffering from these problems, experts say.

"The equivalent of the female anorexic has been the male jogger," says Susan Krevoy, a Beverly Hills psychologist who specializes in treating eating disorders.

"Today it's more acceptable for men to be into their bodies, to work out, get a trainer. Men will talk about their weight and their body, which they didn't do 10 years ago.

"There's a whole different emphasis, and although it's supposed to be about health, it often camouflages an eating disorder," she says.

But it has also become more acceptable for men to admit they have eating problems, and more male bulimics and anorexics are seeking treatment, says Murray I. Firestone, a Century City psychologist who specializes in eating disorders and addictions.

Because bulimia and anorexia have been considered "women's diseases," he says, men have been afraid to admit they were victims.

"Men come to me with eating disorders which have been active for years," Firestone says.

"It's not only a woman's domain now. Men are seeing that it's OK to acknowledge their (problems), and to get help."

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