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eating disorders facts & statistics

Eating disorders in general

According to a 10-year study by the National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders, 86% of sufferers report the onset of their illness by the age of 20. Of these, 10% report the illness at the age of 10 or younger, 33% between the ages of 11-15, and 43% between the ages of 16-20.

The same study revealed that 77% of sufferers said the duration of their illness lasted from 1-15 years. Of these, 30% reported the duration as being from 1-5 years, 31% from 6-10 years, and 16% from 11-15 years.

According to The Alliance for Eating Disorders Awareness, approximately 70 million people worldwide have an eating disorder. A.N.A.D. puts the figure at 7 million for the United States alone.

A.N.A.D. also reports that approximately 1 million boys and men suffer from an eating disorder in the United States.

Anorexia nervosa

A.N.R.E.D. claims that roughly 1% of female adolescents in the United States have anorexia.

The mortality rate for anorexia is higher than any other psychological disorder (not just eating disorders).

Approximately 90% of anorexia and bulimia sufferers are female. Although the figure of 10% for males seems low, it is gradually on the increase.

According to the Harvard Eating Disorders Center, a young woman with anorexia is 12 times more likely to die than other women her age without anorexia.
Bulimia nervosa

According to A.N.R.E.D., approximately 4% of college-aged women in the United States are bulimic. However, Rader Programs puts this figure much higher at 19%. The reality may lay somewhere in-between.

Approximately 5.1% of women in college in the United States suffer from bulimia.

Approximately 80% of bulimia nervosa patients are female (N.E.D.A.).

Binge-eating disorder/compulsive overeating

A study in Drugs and Therapy Perspectives reports that 1% of women in the United States have binge-eating disorder. The same study concludes that up to 30% of women seeking treatment for obesity are suffering from binge-eating disorder.

Studies suggest that 60% of American adults are overweight.

At least 20% of overweight Americans are clinically obese.

Recovery and mortality rates

According to A.N.R.E.D., without treatment up to 20% of people with serious eating disorders die. However, with treatment that figure falls to two or three percent.

A.N.R.E.D. also claims that around 60% of sufferers who are treated will recover (in that they are able to maintain a healthy weight and a varied diet). Even with treatment, approximately 20% of eating disorders sufferers only make partial recoveries. The remaining 20% show no significant improvement, even with treatment.