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

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Abstract

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.

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