Bigorexia: Is it Muscle Building or an Eating Disorder? (with Jason Nagata, MD)

Your Doctor Friends

Bigorexia: Is it Muscle Building or an Eating Disorder? (with Jason Nagata, MD)

June 4, 2024

Bigorexia: Is it Muscle Building or an Eating Disorder? (with Jason Nagata, MD)

Have you heard of the term, “bigorexia”?

It is a form of body dysmorphic disorder, similar in ways to anorexia. 

Bigorexia is used to describe muscle dysmorphia, a condition exhibited mostly by boys/men and characterized by excessive weight lifting, a preoccupation with not feeling muscular enough and a strict adherence to eating foods that lower weight and build muscle. 

And it is seriously on the rise, and surprisingly under-recognized.

The rise has led to articles titled, “What is Bigorexia?” in the NY Times and “Body Dysmorphia in boys and men can fuel muscle obsession, doctors say” in the Washington Post.

Body image challenges are not a new thing, however the world we live in today presents new accelerants making these conditions even harder to manage. If we are not screening for them in all people, no matter gender status, we are likely missing people who need help.

Lucky for us, there are amazing clinician researchers doing outstanding work to try to help us understand more about these conditions and ways we can help. And today we have a world’s expert whose lab has published extensively on muscle dysmorphia.

Welcome, Jason Nagata, MD!

  • Dr. Nagata is a pediatrician and Associate Professor of Pediatrics at the University of California, San Francisco specializing in adolescent and young adult eating disorders.
  • He researches eating disorders, muscle-enhancing behaviors, and social media in boys and men.
  • He edited the book Eating Disorders in Boys and Men and is Senior Editor of the Journal of Eating Disorders.
  • He has published over 300 articles in academic journals and his research has been covered by The New York Times, CNN, NPR, and NBC News.
  • He is the recipient of the American Academy of Pediatrics Emerging Leader in Adolescent Health Award and the International Association for Adolescent Health Young Professionals Prize.

Dr. Nagata recommends the following resources:

The National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA) website.

Your Doctor Friends recommend checking out Dr. Nagata’s “Nagata Lab” page on the UCSF website!

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