Almost 50% of people with eating disorders meet the criteria for depression.1
Only 1 in 10 men and women with eating disorders receive treatment. Only 35% of
people that receive treatment for eating disorders get treatment at a
specialized facility for eating disorders.2
Up to 24 million people of all ages and genders suffer from an eating disorder
(anorexia, bulimia and binge eating disorder) in the U.S.3
Eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of any mental illness.4
91% of women surveyed on a college campus had attempted to control their weight
through dieting. 22% dieted "often" or "always."5
86% report onset of eating disorder by age 20; 43% report onset between ages of
16 and 20.6
Anorexia is the third most common chronic illness among adolescents.7
95% of those who have eating disorders are between the ages of 12 and 25.8
25% of college-aged women engage in bingeing and purging as a weight-management
The mortality rate associated with anorexia nervosa is 12 times higher than the
death rate associated with all causes of death for females 15-24 years old.4
Over one-half of teenage girls and nearly one-third of teenage boys use unhealthy weight
control behaviors such as skipping meals, fasting, smoking cigarettes, vomiting, and taking
In a survey of 185 female students on a college campus, 58% felt pressure to be a certain
weight, and of the 83% that dieted for weight loss, 44% were of normal weight.16
An estimated 10-15% of people with anorexia or bulimia are male.9
Men are less likely to seek treatment for eating disorders because of the
perception that they are "woman's diseases."10
Among gay men, nearly 14% appeared to suffer from bulimia and over 20% appeared
to be anorexic.11
Media, Perception, Dieting:
95% of all dieters will regain their lost weight within 5 years.3
35% of "normal dieters" progress to pathological dieting. Of those, 20-25%
progress to partial or full-syndrome eating disorders.5
The body type portrayed in advertising as the ideal is possessed naturally by
only 5% of American females.3
47% of girls in 5th-12th grade reported wanting to lose weight because of
69% of girls in 5th-12th grade reported that magazine pictures influenced their
idea of a perfect body shape.13
42% of 1st-3rd grade girls want to be thinner (Collins, 1991).
81% of 10 year olds are afraid of being fat (Mellin et al., 1991).
Collins, M.E. (1991). Body figure perceptions and preferences among
pre-adolescent children. International Journal of Eating Disorders, 199-208.
Mellin, L., McNutt, S., Hu, Y., Schreiber, G.B., Crawford, P., & Obarzanek,
E. (1991). A longitudinal study of the dietary practices of black and white
girls 9 and 10 years old at enrollment: The NHLBI growth and health study.
Journal of Adolescent Health, 23-37.
Women are much more likely than men to develop an eating disorder. Only an
estimated 5 to 15 percent of people with anorexia or bulimia are male.14
An estimated 0.5 to 3.7 percent of women suffer from anorexia nervosa in their
lifetime.14 Research suggests that about 1 percent of female adolescents have
An estimated 1.1 to 4.2 percent of women have bulimia nervosa in their
An estimated 2 to 5 percent of Americans experience binge-eating disorder in a
About 50 percent of people who have had anorexia develop bulimia or bulimic
20% of people suffering from anorexia will prematurely die from complications
related to their eating disorder, including suicide and heart problems.18
1. Mortality in Anorexia Nervosa. American Journal of Psychiatry, 1995; 152
2. Characteristics and Treatment of Patients with Chronic Eating Disorders, by
Dr. Greta Noordenbox, International Journal of Eating Disorders, Volume 10:
3. The Renfrew Center Foundation for Eating Disorders, "Eating Disorders 101
Guide: A Summary of Issues, Statistics and Resources," 2003.
4. American Journal of Psychiatry, Vol. 152 (7), July 1995, p. 1073-1074,
Sullivan, Patrick F.
5. Shisslak, C.M., Crago, M., & Estes, L.S. (1995). The Spectrum of Eating
Disturbances. International Journal of Eating Disorders, 18 (3): 209-219.
6. National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders 10-year
7. Public Health Service's Office in Women's Health, Eating Disorders
Information Sheet, 2000.
8. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), The
Center for Mental Health Services (CMHS), offices of the U.S. Department of
Health and Human Services.
9. Carlat, D.J., Camargo. Review of Bulimia Nervosa in Males. American Journal
of Psychiatry, 154, 1997.
10. American Psychological Association, 2001.
11. International Journal of Eating Disorders 2002; 31: 300-308.
12. Prevention of Eating Problems with Elementary Children, Michael Levine, USA
Today, July 1998.
14. The National Institute of Mental Health: "Eating Disorders: Facts About
Eating Disorders and the Search for Solutions." Pub No. 01-4901. Accessed Feb.
15. Anorexia Nervosa and Related Eating Disorders, Inc. website. Accessed Feb.
16. Nutrition Journal. March 31, 2006.
17. Neumark-Sztainer, D. (2005). I’m, Like, SO Fat!.
New York: The Guilford Press. pp. 5.
18. The Renfrew Center Foundation for Eating Disorders, "Eating Disorders 101 Guide:
A Summary of Issues, Statistics and Resources," published September 2002, revised
October 2003, http://www.renfrew.org