Eating Disorder Statistics

Check out the reality of the numbers. Numbers are statistics, data, facts — the numbers don’t lie!

  • Up to 24 million people of all ages and genders suffer from an eating disorder (anorexia, bulimia, binge eating disorder, night eating syndrome, orthorexia, diabulemia) in the U.S.
  • Almost 50% of people with eating deisorders meet the criteria for depression.
  • Eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of any mental illness.
  • 50% of teenage girls and 33% of teenage boys use unhealthy weight control behaviors such as skipping meals, fasting, smoking cigarettes, vomiting and taking laxatives.
  • An estimated 10-15% of people with anorexia or bulimia are male.
  • Men are less likely to seek treatment for eating disorders because of the perception that an eating disorder is a  “woman’s disease.”
  • By the age of 5, children describe thin friends as being more desirable than overweight friends.
  • By the age of 6, girls have internalized the slender ideal and 40% have expressed a desire to be thinner.
  • By the age of 9, girls desire has translated into action, and nearly 50% have already embarked on their first restrictive diet.
  • By age 13, 80% of the adolescsent girls are dieting to fight the natural changes in their maturing bodies.
  • By age 17, 4 out of 5 healthy-weight young women think they are too fat.
  • By age 20, 95%  of young women express strong desire to lose weight.
  • 35% of “normal dieters” progress to pathological dieting.
  •  Female eating disorder patients in my office have ranged from 3rd grade to late 60’s.
  • Male eating disorder patients  I have seen have been from 15 y/o to late 50’s.
  • The longer treatment is postponed will directly correspond to a longer treatment time (months to years) becasue the roots of the eating disorder will be more established.

Behind the numbers are the stories of   significant pain, anguish and cost of eating disorders which are considered a mental health illness. cb