Statistics on Eating Disorders
Eating disorders, like anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa
and binge eating, are becoming increasingly prevalent throughout western
countries. According to US estimates from The National Institute of Mental
Health, between 5 per cent and 10 per cent of girls and women (i.e. 5-10
million people) and 1 million boys and men suffer from eating disorders,
including anorexia, bulimia, binge eating disorder, or other associated
dietary conditions. Estimates suggest that as many as 15 percent of young
women adopt unhealthy attitudes and behaviors about food.
- An estimated 10 per cent of female college
students suffer from a clinical or sub-clinical (borderline) eating
disorder, of which over half suffer from bulimia nervosa.
- An estimated 1 in 100 American women
binges and purges to lose weight.
- Approximately 5 per cent of women and
1 percent of men have anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, or binge eating
- 15 per cent of young women have significantly
disordered eating attitudes and behavior.
- It is estimated that 200,000 to 300,000
Canadian women aged 13 to 40 have anorexia nervosa and twice as many
- Studies suggest that 5 to 10 percent
of people with anorexia or bulimia are males.
- An estimated 1 in 3 of all dieters develop
compulsive dieting attitudes and behaviors.
Of these, one quarter will develop full or partial eating disorders.
- In the UK, nearly 2 in every 100 secondary
school girls suffer from anorexia nervosa,
bulimia nervosa or binge eating disorder.
- Due to the incidence of co-occurring
medical conditions, it is almost impossible to specify the morbidity
rates for eating disorders like anorexia, bulimia or binge eating. However,
general estimates suggest that as many as 10-15 per cent of eating disorders
are fatal for those affected.
- Each day Americans spend an average
of $109 million on dieting and diet related products.
Many eating disorders go unreported
Because of the guilt and consequent secretiveness of eating disorders
(esp. bulimia and binge-eating) it is likely that many instances go unreported.
Thus a higher incidence of eating disorders is almost certain.
Increased social pressure to be thin
According to studies into diet, weight loss and body shape, many individuals
feel dissatisfied with their body shape, and develop sub-clinical / borderline
eating disorder attitudes and behaviors. For example, 80 per cent of American
women claim to be dissatisfied with their appearance and shape, and 1
in 2 American women are on a weight loss diet. The prevailing standards
of body weight and shape, as revealed in the use of abnormally thin models
in the media, continue to emphasize the idea that "thin is beautiful"
and (one suspects) only make things worse for adolescents and adults with
borderline anorexia, bulimia or binge eating disorders.
Attitudes to weight, shape and diet
in pre-teens and teens
For example, 40 per cent of 1st, 2nd or 3rd grade girls want to be thinner.
And 80 per cent of 10 year olds are worried in case they become fat. In
another survey, 70 percent of 6th grade girls surveyed said that their
concern about their weight, shape and diet started when they were aged
- In a study of children aged 8-10, approximately
50 per cent of girls said they were unhappy with their size.
- In a study of girls aged 9-15, more
than 50 per cent claimed they exercised to lose weight, nearly 50 per
cent claimed they reduced food intake in order to lose weight, and approximately
5 per cent claimed to use their parents' diet pills or laxatives in
order to lose weight.