Interestingly, most of the male anorexia sufferers actually turn out to have gender issues. By restricting their food intake, they can delay the onset of puberty and even reduce or partly reverse the development of male secondary sexual characteristics.

This is because virilization is dependant upon the aromatization of oestrogen-like steroid hormones which can only occur in a lipid-rich environment.

These findings have been explored by Louis Gooren et al. in researching treatment of gender issues in childhood. Anorexia thus seems to be a phenomenon almost exclusively restricted to the female gender.