Survey data gathered by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Los Angeles Unified School District found that high school aged boys in Los Angeles are two times more likely to resort to disordered eating to control their weight than the national average.

The survey, which was taken in 2011, found that 5.2 percent of boys said that they had recently vomited or used laxatives as a weight control measure. In addition, 6.2 percent of teen boys surveyed said they had recently used diet pills, powders, or liquids without advice from a doctor. But 6.1 percent of teen girls in the survey said they had done the same.

According to the The Los Angeles Times, popular culture, increasingly sexualized images in commercials and advertisements, and the more widespread use of social media platforms like Instagram and Twitter may contribute to boys becoming more conscious about body image.

"Boys are growing up now with the billboard of the guy with perfect pecs and biceps," Roberto Olivardia, a clinical instructor in the Harvard Medical School psychiatry department, told the Times. "You just didn't see that years ago."

Experts have long considered eating disorders a disease of teen girls and young women. Statistically, that is pretty accurate. Eating disorders are more prevalent among women and girls than they are among men and boys. Conventional thinking posits that girls face different pressures and expectations than boys as they grow up. And, if males did happen to suffer from an eating disorder, it's hypothesized that there is something different about those males (perhaps upbringing, trauma, etc.) that made them resort to disordered eating. But neither theory seems to be true.

"One argument has been that because eating disorders are so rare in males, the nature of the illness must somehow be atypical in males," said researchers in a 2001 study. "The second line of discussion has suggested that there must be something different about males who develop an eating disorder. For example, it has been suggested that a higher proportion of males with eating disorders might be homosexual."

But what those researchers found was not dissimilar from the trend occurring in L.A. teens: how the disease occurs in women isn't much different from how it occurs in men.

"We found few differences between men and women with eating disorders on the available clinical variables. The similar ratios of anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa in the two groups as well as the very similar patterns of age at onset and birth cohort effect add to the now substantial body of evidence suggesting that the illness is the same in nature for both sexes," researchers said.

The number of males hospitalized for eating disorders has risen 53 percent from 1999 to 2009. In addition, Chicago, Houston, and Charlotte also report seeing higher-than-average rates of boys resorting to disordered eating and diet pills to lose weight.

While the exact cause of the increase in eating disorders among men and boys is unknown, some boys say that a lot of it has to do with embarrassment and inability to discuss weight the way women do. "Men are pressured to have as little fat as possible," said 19-year old Andrew Shrout. "But you've got to pretend like you don't watch what you eat."

The Los Angeles Unified School District is taking these findings very seriously, saying that more lessons tailored to cover eating disorders may be necessary. "This is probably something we need to look at further," said Lori Vollandt, Los Angeles Unified health education programs coordinator.