I sit at my desk drinking coffee; our patient census over the years is approaching two thousand children and young adults, the majority of whom have had anorexia nervosa or its variants.  And I am thinking about our boys.  

Given the approximate accepted statistic that 90% of patients with AN will be female, (even though the percentage is higher in younger patients), that still gives us around 200 boys.

Remember, with that many, if you think you recognize someone from these descriptions, you probably don’t.

So what have they been like, our boys?  I let my mind drift over those I can easily recall:  the ten year old boy scout whose Mom was a pediatrician;  the sixteen year old son of big, old money who was a talented designer and artist; the eighteen year old boy who was addicted to heroin; the fourteen year old Native American boy who loved to hunt and fish; the twelve year old local boy whose family had worked in forestry for generations who loved to fish and hunt and play football; the self-identified gay fifteen year old boy;  the permanently growth-stunted seventeen year old son of a physician; the anxious ten year old who kicked and screamed the first hour we met him; the ten year old boy from a tiny farm town, the son of a cowboy (yes, they still exist); the sixteen year old son of a well-known attorney who went off to an ivy league school; the fifteen year old boy from a Texas family who went on to go to medical school; the seventeen year old adopted son a of a judge who had a drug problem and refused treatment;  the nineteen year old Olympic level tri-athlete; the twelve year old diabetic boy whose father was severely disabled; the very young transgendered boy; the sixteen year old boy scholar addicted to Ritalin; the fourteen year old boy who wanted nothing more than to join the Army as soon as he could; the twelve year old identical twin boy whose brother did not (yet?) show symptoms...

When I read this aloud to one of our team they said:  “wow, that’s a very diverse group.”

Yep.  That’s exactly the point.