58 Eating Disorder Statistics

Eating disorders are serious mental health conditions affecting millions of people worldwide. They can affect anyone, regardless of age, gender, ethnicity, or background.

Published On

July 11, 2024

58 Eating Disorder Statistics

Eating disorders are serious mental health conditions affecting millions of people worldwide. They can affect anyone, regardless of age, gender, ethnicity, or background. Eating disorders can have severe physical and emotional consequences and can even be life-threatening. Here are 48 statistics related to eating disorders that shed light on the prevalence and impact of these conditions.

Top 10 Key Eating Disorder Statistics

  1. An estimated 20 million women and 10 million men in the US will have an eating disorder at some point in their lives.
  2. Eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of any mental illness, with one person dying from complications related to eating disorders every hour.
  3. Anorexia nervosa has the highest mortality rate of any psychiatric disorder, with a lifetime risk of death estimated between 5% and 18%.
  4. Bulimia nervosa affects approximately 1-2% of adolescents and young adults.
  5. Binge eating disorder is the most common eating disorder in the US, affecting an estimated 3.5% of women, 2% of men, and up to 1.6% of adolescents.
  6. Approximately 30 million people in the United States are affected by an eating disorder at some point in their lives.
  7. Eating disorders can lead to various physical health problems like heart failure, electrolyte imbalances, gastrointestinal problems, and osteoporosis.
  8. Roughly half of all individuals with an eating disorder also experience symptoms of depression.
  9. Genetic predisposition may account for up to half of a person’s risk for developing anorexia or bulimia.
  10. In general, it takes about five years for someone with bulimia to seek treatment for their condition.
Source: https://my.vanderbilthealth.com/

Anorexia Nervosa

Anorexia nervosa is an eating disorder characterized by an intense fear of gaining weight, a distorted body image, and severe food restriction. Here are some statistics related to anorexia nervosa:

  • Anorexia nervosa has the highest mortality rate of any mental health condition. (ANAD)
  • Approximately 0.9% of women and 0.3% of men will develop anorexia nervosa in their lifetime. (ANAD)
  • Anorexia nervosa has a lifetime prevalence of 0.9% in women and 0.3% in men. (NEDA)
  • Anorexia nervosa is more common among young women aged 15-24 years. (NIMH)

Bulimia Nervosa

Source: https://www.nimh.nih.gov/

Bulimia nervosa is an eating disorder characterized by binge eating followed by purging behaviors such as vomiting, laxative use, or excessive exercise. Here are some statistics related to bulimia nervosa:

  • Approximately 1.5% of women and 0.5% of men will develop bulimia nervosa in their lifetime. (ANAD)
  • Bulimia nervosa has a lifetime prevalence of 1.5% in women and 0.5% in men. (NEDA)
  • Bulimia nervosa is more common among young women aged 15-24 years. (NIMH)
  • The risk of suicide is higher among individuals with bulimia nervosa than in the general population. (ANAD)

Binge Eating Disorder

Binge eating disorder is an eating disorder characterized by recurrent episodes of binge eating without compensatory behaviors. Here are some statistics related to binge eating disorder:

Source: https://www.nimh.nih.gov/
  • Approximately 2.8% of adults in the United States will develop binge eating disorder in their lifetime. (NEDA)
  • Binge eating disorder is more common among women than men. (NIMH)
  • Binge eating disorder is associated with a higher risk of obesity and other health problems such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease. (NEDA)

Prevalence of Eating Disorders in Adults

  • In the United States, approximately 0.9% of adults have anorexia nervosa at some point in their lifetime.
  • About 1.5% of adults in the US will experience bulimia nervosa at some point in their lifetime.
  • The lifetime prevalence of binge eating disorder among adults in America is approximately 2.8%.
  • Among adults with anorexia nervosa, up to 20% will die as a result of complications related to their condition.
  • Approximately 60% of individuals with eating disorders do not receive treatment for their condition.
  • Men make up about one-third of people with binge eating disorder and about one-quarter of those with bulimia nervosa.
  • Eating disorders affect people from all racial and ethnic groups, but they are most commonly reported among white individuals in the US.

Prevalence of Eating Disorders in Adolescents

Source: https://www.nimh.nih.gov/
  • Approximately 0.3% of adolescents will develop anorexia nervosa.
  • About 1-2% of adolescents and young adults will experience bulimia nervosa.
  • Binge eating disorder is the most common eating disorder among adolescents, affecting up to 1.6% of this population.
  • In a survey of high school students, 63% reported trying to lose weight, and almost a quarter reported fasting or skipping meals to do so.
  • According to the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA), children as young as six have expressed concerns about their body size or shape.

Eating Disorder by Gender

  • Anorexia nervosa is more common in females than males, with a female-to-male ratio of 10:1. (NEDA)
  • Bulimia nervosa is also more common in females than males, with a female-to-male ratio of 5:1. (ANAD)
  • Binge eating disorder affects both genders, but it is more common in females than males, with a female-to-male ratio of 3:2. (NIMH)
  • Among transgender individuals, the prevalence of eating disorders is higher compared to cisgender individuals. (National Center for Transgender Equality)
  • Men account for approximately 25% of individuals with bulimia nervosa and about one-third of those with binge eating disorder. (ANAD)
  • Among male athletes, the prevalence of eating disorders may be as high as 35%. (National Eating Disorders Association)
  • In one study, it was found that gay and bisexual men were seven times more likely to report binge-eating behaviors compared to heterosexual men. (Journal of Adolescent Health)

Eating Disorder by Age

  • Among children aged 9-10, 40-60% of girls and 25-45% of boys have reported trying to control their weight.
  • In a study of college students, over 90% of female participants reported dieting, while almost half reported binge eating.
  • Eating disorders affect approximately 13% of women over the age of 50. (National Eating Disorders Association)
  • Middle-aged women may be at increased risk for developing eating disorders due to factors such as menopause and aging-related body changes. (International Journal of Eating Disorders)
  • According to a survey conducted by the National Eating Disorders Association, almost 80% of adults aged 25 and older with eating disorders report that their symptoms first appeared during adolescence.

Eating Disorder and Co-occurring Conditions

Source: https://www.nimh.nih.gov/
  • Approximately 50% of individuals with an eating disorder also have a co-occurring substance use disorder. (National Eating Disorders Association)
  • Individuals with anorexia nervosa are at increased risk for developing anxiety disorders, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and depression. (National Eating Disorders Association)
  • Up to 70% of individuals with bulimia nervosa have a history of major depression, while up to 80% experience symptoms of anxiety disorders. (National Eating Disorders Association)
  • Binge eating disorder is associated with a higher risk of psychiatric comorbidity, including mood disorders, anxiety disorders, and personality disorders. (International Journal of Eating Disorders)
  • Individuals with eating disorders are at increased risk for suicidal ideation and suicide attempts compared to the general population. One study found that up to 60% of individuals with anorexia nervosa have attempted suicide at some point in their lives. (Journal of Affective Disorders)

Other Eating Disorders

Other eating disorders include avoidant/restrictive food intake disorder, pica, rumination disorder, and other specified feeding or eating disorders. Here are some statistics related to other eating disorders:

  • Avoidant/restrictive food intake disorder has a lifetime prevalence of 0.3% in women and 0.1% in men. (NEDA)
  • Pica affects an estimated 10-32% of children aged 1-6 years worldwide. (NCBI)
  • Rumination disorder affects less than 1% of infants and young children worldwide. (NCBI)
  • Other specified feeding or eating disorders account for approximately 40% of all eating disorder diagnoses. (NEDA)

Treatment and Recovery

Eating disorders are treatable, and recovery is possible with appropriate care and support. Here are some statistics related to eating disorder treatment and recovery:

  • Only 1 in 10 people with eating disorders receive treatment. (ANAD)
  • Early identification and intervention can improve the chances of full recovery. (NEDA)
  • Family-based therapy is an effective treatment for adolescents with anorexia nervosa. (NIMH)
  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy is an effective treatment for adults with bulimia nervosa and binge eating disorder. (NIMH)

Conclusion

Eating disorders are complex conditions that can be both physically and emotionally debilitating. They can be caused by a variety of factors, ranging from genetics to environmental influences. If you or someone you know is struggling with an eating disorder, it is important to understand that recovery is possible and that seeking help is the first step towards healing.

There are many different types of eating disorders, including anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, binge eating disorder, and others. Each of these disorders requires specialized care and support, and it is important to seek help from a healthcare professional or a mental health specialist who is experienced in treating eating disorders.

In addition to seeking professional help, there are also many resources available to individuals and families who are affected by eating disorders. Support groups, online communities, and educational resources can provide valuable information and support throughout the recovery process.

Remember, everyone deserves to live a healthy and happy life, free from the burden of an eating disorder. With the right care and support, recovery is possible, and a brighter future is within reach.

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