How common are eating disorders?
Eating disorders awareness is not complete without knowing the Statistics on eating disorders.
An estimated 30 million Americans suffer from an eating disorder. Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders National Association
Among adolescent females, eating disorders are the third most common chronic illness. The International Journal of Adolescent Medicine and Health, 2007
In the United States, 10 million men will suffer from an eating disorder in their lifetime. The National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA)
Binge eating disorder has the highest lifetime prevalence of eating disorders (5.5% compared to 2% for bulimia and 1.2% for anorexia). 2007 (Biological Psychiatry)
Statistics on eating disorders worldwide
In the decade between 2000 and 2018, the prevalence of eating disorders increased from 3.4% to 7.8%. (American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 2019).
Globally, 70 million people suffer from eating disorders. The National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA)
Among Asian countries, Japan has the highest prevalence of eating disorders, followed by Hong Kong, Singapore, Taiwan, and South Korea. In Eating Disorders: An International Journal, 15(5).
As of 2012, Austria had the highest prevalence rate in Europe at 1.55%. According to Psychology Today (2013)
A person with an eating disorder is known to almost half of all Americans. The South Carolina Department of Mental Health (SDMH)
Eating disorders statistics by gender
As of 2001-2004, young women (3.8% of the population) were more likely to suffer from eating disorders than young men (1.5%). The Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 2010
Men make up a quarter of those with anorexia. The fact that men are diagnosed much later than women increases their risk of dying. Some of this may be due to the misconception that men do not suffer from eating disorders. The Eating Disorders Resource Catalogue, 2014.
Statistics on eating disorders by age
- There are 13% of women older than 50 who have disordered eating behaviors worldwide. The International Journal of Eating Disorders (2012)
- Anorexia, bulimia nervosa, and binge eating disorders had median onset ages of 21 and 18 respectively. The Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 2010
- As of 2001-2004, adolescents in the U.S. had a lifetime prevalence of eating disorders of 2.7%. According to the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (2010),
- Teenagers aged 17 to 18 had the highest prevalence of eating disorders (3%). In the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (2010).
In an eight-year study of 496 adolescent girls in a U.S. city, researchers found that by age 20:
- There were more than 5% of girls with anorexia, bulimia, or binge eating disorders.
- When including non-specific eating disorder symptoms, more than 13% of the girls had experienced an eating disorder.
It was published in the Journal of Abnormal Psychology in 2010.
Statistics on binge eating disorders
An individual suffering from a binge eating disorder consumes unusually large amounts of food in a short period of time. People with binge eating disorders often feel that binge consumption is beyond their control, and may feel ashamed as a result.
- According to the National Eating Disorders Association, binge eating disorder is the most common eating disorder in the United States.
- Binge eating disorders affect nearly 3% of adults in their lifetime. 2007 (Biological Psychiatry)
- Binge eating disorders affect 3.5 percent of American women and 2 percent of American men during their lifetime, making them three times more common than anorexia and bulimia combined. 2007 (Biological Psychiatry)
Treatment is only available to less than half (43.6%) of people with binge eating disorders. The Osteopathic Family Physician, 2013
Eating disorders and their impact
- Eating disorders cause about one death per hour. The Eating Disorders Coalition, 2016.
- Among all mental illnesses, eating disorders have the highest mortality rate. Smink, F. E., van Hoeken, D., & Hoek, H. W., (2012)
- The most deadly mental illness is anorexia. There is a 56 times higher risk of suicide among people with anorexia than among people without eating disorders, according to a study. (Eating Disorders Coalition, 2016)
- The rate of excessive alcohol consumption and illegal drug use among people with eating disorders is five times higher than in the general population. (The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse, 2003)
A co-occurring health condition is present in 97 percent of people hospitalized for eating disorders. The most common underlying condition is mood disorders, such as major depression, followed by anxiety disorders, such as obsessive-compulsive disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, and substance abuse disorders. (The Journal of Treatment and Prevention of Eating Disorders, 2014)
When diabetics with eating disorders struggle to control their diabetes, they are at risk of heart disease, stroke, neuropathy, loss of vision, and kidney disease.
The treatment of eating disorders
As eating disorders affect the body as well as the mind, the National Eating Disorders Association recommends psychological and nutritional counseling.
Hindell says there are various treatment models for eating disorders. Residential programs, a hospital program, and a day treatment program are all available. Most people with eating disorders are high-functioning individuals, usually perfectionist types. The most effective approach for them is a combination of psychotherapy, nutrition sessions, and sometimes psychopharmacology.”
60% of eating disorder patients recover completely after treatment. Only one in ten people with these disorders seek and receive treatment..