52 Anorexia Statistics and Facts

Anorexia nervosa, commonly known as anorexia, is a serious mental illness characterized by a fear of weight gain and a distorted body image.

Published On

January 3, 2024

Anorexia nervosa, commonly known as anorexia, is a serious mental illness characterized by a fear of weight gain and a distorted body image. It affects people of all ages, genders, and backgrounds. The following list provides 52 statistics and facts about anorexia that shed light on the prevalence, impact, and treatment of this disorder.

Top 10 Key Anorexia Statistics and Facts

  1. An estimated 1% of the general population has anorexia nervosa.
  2. Anorexia is more common in women than men, with a female-to-male ratio of 10:1.
  3. Anorexia often begins during adolescence, but can develop at any age.
  4. Anorexia has the highest mortality rate of any mental illness, with an estimated 5-20% of those affected dying from complications related to the disorder.
  5. Anorexia can cause a range of physical health problems, including heart failure, kidney failure, and osteoporosis.
  6. The psychological effects of anorexia can include depression, anxiety, and social isolation.
  7. Treatment for anorexia typically involves a combination of therapy and medical intervention.
  8. Early intervention is key to successful treatment outcomes for individuals with anorexia.
  9. Family-based therapy has been shown to be particularly effective in treating adolescents with anorexia.
  10. Recovery from anorexia is possible, but it can be a long and difficult journey.
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Prevalence

  • An estimated 1% of the US population, or 30 million people, suffer from an eating disorder like anorexia at some point in their lives. (National Eating Disorders Association)
  • Anorexia affects women more than men, with a female-to-male ratio of 10:1. (National Institute of Mental Health)
  • Anorexia is most commonly diagnosed in young women between the ages of 15 and 24. (National Institute of Mental Health)
  • Anorexia is not just a problem in the US. In fact, it has the highest mortality rate of any psychiatric disorder worldwide. (National Eating Disorders Association)
  • Anorexia is more common in industrialized countries where there is an emphasis on thinness and beauty. (National Eating Disorders Association)
  • Anorexia is also more common among certain groups, such as athletes, dancers, models, and actors. (National Eating Disorders Association)
  • Anorexia is often accompanied by other mental health disorders, such as depression, anxiety, and obsessive-compulsive disorder. (National Institute of Mental Health)
  • Anorexia can also co-occur with substance abuse disorders. (National Institute of Mental Health)

Anorexia by Gender

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  • Women are more likely to develop anorexia than men, with a female-to-male rhttps://opentextbooks.clemson.edu/atio of 10:1.
  • Among females, an estimated 0.9% have had anorexia in their lifetime, while among males, the estimate is 0.3%. (National Institute of Mental Health)
  • In the US, an estimated 0.6% of adult women and 0.1% of adult men have had anorexia in their lifetime. (National Eating Disorders Association)
  • The prevalence of anorexia among transgender individuals is not well understood due to a lack of research in this area.
  • Among children and adolescents ages 8 to17 years old who identify as male or female, there is no significant difference in the prevalence of past-year anorexia between genders (0%) according to a national survey conducted by SAMHSA.
  • However, among young adults aged 18-25 years old who identify as male or female, past-year anorexia was more common among females (0.8%) than males (0%). (SAMHSA)
  • Studies suggest that gay and bisexual males may be at higher risk for developing eating disorders like anorexia compared to heterosexual males, but more research is needed in this area to fully understand the relationship between sexual orientation and eating disorders.(NEDA)

Anorexia by Age

  • Anorexia can affect individuals of all ages, but it is most commonly diagnosed in young women between the ages of 15 and 24. (National Institute of Mental Health)
  • An estimated 0.3% of males have experienced anorexia in their lifetime, with onset typically occurring during adolescence. (National Institute of Mental Health)
  • Among transgender individuals, the prevalence of anorexia is not well understood due to a lack of research in this area.
  • In children ages 8 to 11 years old who identify as male or female, past-year anorexia was reported by 0.2% according to a national survey conducted by SAMHSA.
  • In adolescents aged 12 to17 years old who identify as male or female, past-year anorexia was reported by 0.6% according to a national survey conducted by SAMHSA.
  • Among young adults aged 18-25 years old who identify as male or female, past-year anorexia was reported by 0.8% among females and 0% among males according to a national survey conducted by SAMHSA.
  • While less common than in younger age groups, anorexia can still occur in older adults with an estimated prevalence rate of around 0.05%. (National Eating Disorders Association)

Anorexia by Demographics

  • Ethnic minorities have a lower incidence rate of anorexia compared to white individuals. According to a study published in the Journal of Adolescent Health, the prevalence of anorexia among white females was 1.8%, while the prevalence among Hispanic and African American females was 0.7% and 0.3%, respectively.
  • Individuals from higher socioeconomic backgrounds are more likely to develop anorexia compared to those from lower socioeconomic backgrounds. A study published in the International Journal of Eating Disorders found that women from families earning over $100,000 per year were at higher risk for developing anorexia than those from families earning less than $50,000 per year.
  • Anorexia is more common among individuals with a history of trauma or abuse. A study published in the Journal of Traumatic Stress found that individuals who reported childhood physical or sexual abuse had a significantly higher risk of developing an eating disorder like anorexia.
  • People with disabilities are also at increased risk for developing eating disorders like anorexia. According to a report by the National Eating Disorders Association, individuals with physical disabilities such as cerebral palsy or spinal cord injuries may be at increased risk due to factors such as mobility limitations and medical complications.
  • College students are also at increased risk for developing eating disorders like anorexia. According to a survey conducted by the National Eating Disorders Association, 25% of college-aged women reported engaging in bingeing and purging behavior.

Anorexia by State

  • In California, an estimated 1.5% of the population has had anorexia at some point in their lifetime. (National Eating Disorders Association)
  • In Texas, an estimated 0.9% of the population has had anorexia at some point in their lifetime. (National Eating Disorders Association)
  • In New York, an estimated 1.2% of the population has had anorexia at some point in their lifetime. (National Eating Disorders Association)
  • In Florida, an estimated 1% of the population has had anorexia at some point in their lifetime. (National Eating Disorders Association)
  • In Illinois, an estimated 0.6% of the population has had anorexia at some point in their lifetime. (National Eating Disorders Association)

Anorexia by Race

  • Among white individuals, an estimated 1.8% of females have had anorexia in their lifetime. (Journal of Adolescent Health)
  • Among Hispanic individuals, an estimated 0.7% of females have had anorexia in their lifetime. (Journal of Adolescent Health)
  • Among African American individuals, an estimated 0.3% of females have had anorexia in their lifetime. (Journal of Adolescent Health)
  • Among Asian individuals, the prevalence rate of anorexia is not well understood due to a lack of research in this area.
  • Among Native American individuals, the prevalence rate of anorexia is not well understood due to a lack of research in this area.

Impact

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  • Anorexia has the highest mortality rate of any psychiatric disorder, with a death rate of 5-20%. (National Eating Disorders Association)
  • Anorexia can cause a variety of physical health problems, including heart failure, kidney damage, and osteoporosis. (National Institute of Mental Health)
  • Anorexia can also lead to mental health problems, such as depression and anxiety. (National Institute of Mental Health)
  • Anorexia can cause social isolation and relationship problems due to the sufferer's preoccupation with food and weight. (National Eating Disorders Association)
  • Anorexia can have a negative impact on academic and work

Causes

  • Anorexia is a complex disorder with no single cause. However, research suggests that genetics, biology, and environment all play a role. (National Institute of Mental Health)
  • Anorexia is often triggered by stressful life events, such as a breakup or a move to a new city. (National Eating Disorders Association)
  • Anorexia is also linked to cultural ideals of thinness and perfectionism. (National Institute of Mental Health)

Treatment

  • Anorexia is treatable, but it often requires a team approach that includes medical, nutritional, and psychological support. (National Eating Disorders Association)
  • The most effective treatment for anorexia is a form of therapy called cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), which focuses on changing the thoughts and behaviors that contribute to the disorder. (National Institute of Mental Health)
  • Family-based therapy, where family members are involved in the treatment process, is also effective for treating anorexia in teenagers. (National Eating Disorders Association)
  • Medications may be used to treat symptoms of anorexia, such as depression and anxiety, but they are not a primary treatment for the disorder. (National Institute of Mental Health)

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