Sunday 17 November 2013

On the whole the Daily Mirror article was accurate...

So how much of my published interview with the Daily Mirror this week were my words and how much were the Editor's words, after the (very nice) journalist agreed the final version with me, but did warn me that the Editor would give the final go-ahead before publication and, sorry but no I couldn't see the post-edited version... (Note, our bit features further down the article.)

Bev Mattocks’ son Ben developed an eating disorder at 15 trying to emulate ripped models he’d seen in his dad’s fitness magazines. 

Kind of what I said, but not exactly.

“Ben had muscles because he played rugby but he was desperate to have a six-pack. He was swimming and running every day, and he was doing sit-ups, press-ups, crunches and other things,” Bev explains. 


“He became riveted by his dad’s magazines – they had a big influence. 

Well, they were just one of many factors and my H didn't buy loads of these mens health mags, just a handful.

He didn’t have any time to do anything else, he refused to eat fatty foods and became very isolated.” 


Photo of Ben Mattock Recovering: 

(No it's not, it's a photo of Ben the previous summer.)

Like Paul, it was difficult for Ben to get help even when Bev was right on the case. She says: “I took him to see our GP and he told Ben to go away and eat something.” 

GP told Ben to go away, eat more and come back in a couple of weeks.

In January 2010, Ben’s heart rate dropped dangerously low and he was admitted to hospital but again Bev’s concerns were brushed aside. “I’d researched anorexia online and I knew heart failure was one of the main killers. A consultant told us athletes tend to have very low heart rates and because Ben was sporty that was what was happening,” says Bev. 


But she insisted he was referred to the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services, where he was finally ­diagnosed with anorexia. 

Actually he was never diagnosed with anorexia because his BMI was never low enough, which is one of the key points I want to raise when it comes to the problems of getting males with eating disorders taken seriously by the medical profession.

Ben, now 19, is back to a normal weight and is in his first year at Sheffield University studying history. Bev, who has written books about his anorexia, says parents should be aware of the dangers. “I didn’t know boys got eating ­disorders,” she says. 

Correct, although Ben could do with weighing a bit more...

“We weren’t looking out for the signs but boys can suffer from body image issues too.” 

I never said the second half of this sentence. I also reinforced the point that the drive for fitness and a six-pack, and the mens health mags, weren't 'causes' of his eating disorder, they were just some of the triggers.

Bev Mattock tells parents to trust their instincts – if you have a gut feeling something is wrong, then it probably is. 

True. (NB Mattocks has an 's')

She says: “Take your son straight to the GP if he is losing weight, over-exercising, getting obsessed with ‘healthy eating’, cutting back on food he would normally eat, getting depressed or generally down and opting for exercise over socialising. 


“Don’t be afraid to be pushy – demand a referral to specialist eating disorder services or Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services. Visit website which is packed with resources for parents and carers. It’s also worth joining their online forum, Around The Dinner Table. You’ll find incredible support there, it was a lifesaver for us.”


On the whole it's accurate, but there was so much more I said... so much that I felt was extremely important when it comes to highlighting the fact that males and boys get eating disorders.

But I am well aware that space was limited and there were other stories to report as well as ours.

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