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Where Are Eating Disorders Most Common In The World

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What Causes An Eating Disorder

Diabulimia: The World’s Most Dangerous Eating Disorder

Eating disorders are believed to result from a combination of biological vulnerability, environmental, and social factors.;A useful way of thinking about what causes an eating disorder is to distinguish predisposing, precipitating and perpetuating factors that contribute to its onset and maintenance.

Body Image And Dieting

  • Roughly 25 million men and 43 million women are dieting to lose weight. Another 21 million men and 26 million women are dieting to maintain weight. In total, there are nearly 116 million adults dieting at any given time ├órepresenting about 55% of the total adult population.
  • 91% of women surveyed on a college campus in the mid-90s had attempted to control their weight through dieting. 22% dieted “often” or “always.”
  • 35% of “normal dieters” progress to pathological dieting. Of those, 20-25% progress to partial or full-syndrome eating disorders.

Global Eating Disorder Statistics

According to the;Alliance for Eating Disorders Awareness, more than 70 million people worldwide and 24 million Americans have been diagnosed or display symptoms of an eating disorder. Outside of the United States, eating disorders are less common, especially in cultures where curves and plumpness are considered more attractive due to its association with fertility, prosperity and economic security. In Muslim societies where women have more restrictive social roles, there are lower rates of eating disorders.

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Recovery From Anorexia Nervosa And Bulimia Nervosa At 22

The course of eating disorders is often protracted, with fewer than half of adults achieving recovery from anorexia nervosa or bulimia nervosa. Some argue for palliative management when duration exceeds a decade, yet outcomes beyond 20 years are rarely described. This study investigates early and long-term recovery in the Massachusetts General Hospital Longitudinal Study of Anorexia and Bulimia Nervosa.


Females with DSM-III-R/DSM-IV anorexia nervosa or bulimia nervosa were assessed at 9 and at 20 to 25 years of follow-up via structured clinical interview . Seventy-seven percent of the original cohort was re-interviewed, and multiple imputation was used to include all surviving participants from the original cohort . Kaplan-Meier curves estimated recovery by 9-year follow-up, and McNemar test examined concordance between recovery at 9-year and 22-year follow-up.


At 22-year follow-up, 62.8% of participants with anorexia nervosa and 68.2% of participants with bulimia nervosa recovered, compared to 31.4% of participants with anorexia nervosa and 68.2% of participants with bulimia nervosa by 9-year follow-up. Approximately half of those with anorexia nervosa who had not recovered by 9 years progressed to recovery at 22 years. Early recovery was associated with increased likelihood of long-term recovery in anorexia nervosa but not in bulimia nervosa .

;Clin Psychiatry. 2017 Feb;78:184-189. doi: 10.4088/JCP.15m10393.


Please note:

Statistics: How Many People Have Eating Disorders

The Problem

Anorexia nervosa:Bulimia nervosa:Males with eating disorders:What age groups are affected?:Overweight and obesity:Binge eating disorder:Eating disorders and substance abuse:What age groups are affected?:What about compulsive exercising?Subclinical eating disordersEating disorders in Western and non-Western countriesMortality and recovery rates


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What Forms Of Treatment Are Effective For Bulimia Nervosa

Most uncomplicated cases of bulimia nervosa can be treated on an outpatient basis although inpatient treatment is occasionally indicated. The best psychological treatment is cognitive-behavioral therapy, which involves self-monitoring of thoughts, feelings, and behaviors related to the eating disorder. Therapy is focused on normalizing eating behavior and identifying environmental triggers and irrational thoughts or feeling states that precipitate bingeing or purging. Patients are taught to challenge irrational beliefs about weight and self-esteem. Several medications have also been shown to be effective in decreasing bingeing and purging behaviors in bulimia.

Burden Of Eating Disorders At The Regional Level

The burden of eating disorders and their trends at the regional level are listed in Table 1. In 2017, Australasia had the highest age-standardised prevalence and DALY rates , followed by Western Europe. As shown in Fig. 1, the ASRs of prevalence and DALYs of eating disorders increased in all geographic regions in the observed period, except for central Sub-Saharan Africa. The most significant increase of ASRs was detected in East Asia , followed by South Asia .

The burdens of anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa and their trends at the regional level are listed in online Supplementary Tables 1, 2, respectively. In 2017, Western Europe had the highest age-standardised prevalence and DALY rates for anorexia nervosa. In the same year, Australasia had the highest age-standardised prevalence and DALY rates for bulimia nervosa. Similar to eating disorders, the age-standardised prevalence and DALY rates of anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa increased in all 21 geographic regions, except for central Sub-Saharan Africa. East Asia had the most significant increment of ASRs for anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa , followed by South Asia.

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Why Eating Disorders Are More Than A Western Problem

By Kira Rakova, USA

A year ago, while I was in Morocco, I asked a Moroccan woman about eating disorders in the country. After spending time trying to explain what I meant by eating disorder, the woman replied this was not something that happened in Morocco. Sure, there was dieting, she said, but eating disorders? That simply could not happen, because meals were so central to family time. In a way, what she was suggesting is that culture protects Moroccans from developing eating disorders.

As I worked on my undergraduate honors thesis this semester, I kept returning to this idea. In researching about the way eating disorders are talked about in the United States versus Russia, I routinely came across the debate are eating disorders culturally bound illnesses? The argument that they are, is nothing new and many studies have aimed to explore the link between western cultural practices, westernization, globalization and eating disorders. Even within Russian academic literature on eating disorders, there is a discussion on the role of Western cultural factors.

Look beyond the cultural influence

Low on public health agenda

Yet the problem with this argument, especially when it is adopted by non-Western countries, goes beyond that. Aside from ideological and theoretical understandings, the culturally-bound argument has significant negative consequences on sufferers of eating disorders. Primarily, because it suggests that eating disorders are only a western problem.

How To Treat The 5 Most Common Mental Health Disorders

Anorexia: The Ten Most Common Misconceptions About E.D.s

What are the most common mental health disorders?

The five most common mental health disorders include depression, anxiety, eating disorders, substance abuse and attention deficit disorder ADD/ADHD.

Millions of people suffer from these disorders in the United States and around the world.

Unfortunately, many people who suffer from one or more of these disorders often feels alone and as if they are the only one struggling. Accessing treatment can help eliminate this stigma. It is in treatment a person can be connected with numerous resources as well as others who are going through similar experiences.

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Increased Rates Of Eating Disorders In Africa

In Africa, a study was conducted in a rural area where eating disorders were found . Researchers from Scotland studied over 600 female adolescents at a middle school in Ghana to see if they met the criteria for anorexia nervosa. Those who participated were found to come from various social status, and all were financially stable with access to food.

A small number of girls were found to have low weight due to dieting behaviors, and the group stated reasons for dieting as religious fasting, dieting around times of stress, and for feelings of self-control .

In a 1986 study in Zimbabwe, a sample of black, white, and mixed-race schoolgirls showed eating disorder pathology and in South Africa, research is showing that eating disorders are on the rise. Black female students generally scored higher in disordered eating and body shape dissatisfaction than their white counterparts.

These studies conclude that eating disorders are as common among black females as they are among white females in both Western and non-Western areas of the world .

In conclusion, eating disorders are on the rise in developing countries. Research is being conducted throughout the world to better understand the development and pathology of these disorders and to better understand and find new treatments for those who struggle.


European Eating Disorders Review,8

Published on June 27, 2017. Reviewed By: Jacquelyn Ekern, MS, LPC on June 27, 2017. Published on

Deaths Related To Eating Disorders

Individuals with;eating disorders;are at high risk for cardiac complications, which can lead to sudden death. Patients with eating disorders such as anorexia lose fatty tissue;as well as skeletal and muscle mass. Loss of mass of the heart muscle can cause the heart to become weak and lead to congestive heart failure and possibly death. Close to;80% of all individuals;with anorexia report some type of cardiac event due to the condition. These events include;arrhythmias,;hypotension;and tachycardia.

Approximately half of the deaths associated with anorexia;nervosa;are sudden cardiac deaths due to cardiac;arrhythmias. The exact cause is not known, but it is suspected to be a result of electrolyte disturbances, especially low potassium and magnesium. Generally, cardiac disorders go away when the patient seeks treatment and begins to gain weight, but untreated disorders increase the patients risk of death. Because of the risk of sudden death, eating disorders are one of the deadliest of all mental illnesses.

People with an eating disorder are often at a higher risk of death by suicide. This is because the condition causes a wide variety of health and mental issues. The rate of suicide for individuals with eating disorders is higher than those with any other mental health disorder, including schizophrenia and depression.

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The Dangers Of Eating Disorders

Eating disorders are very dangerous and even harder to overcome. Unless the patient has been hospitalized, there is often little incentive to change or seek out treatment. Early detection and treatment from clinics like Eden Treatment improve the recovery rate substantially, whereas those who only receive treatment after being forced to following hospitalization will more likely experience a relapse.;

Early detection and treatment are key, as eating disorders are deadly.;

Eating Disorder Statistics By Age

How to Spot the 3 Most Common Eating Disorders ...
  • Globally, 13% of women older than 50 experience disordered eating behaviors.
  • The median age of eating disorder onset was 21 years old for binge eating disorder and 18 years old for anorexia and bulimia nervosa.
  • The lifetime prevalence of eating disorders in the U.S. was 2.7% among adolescents as of 2001-2004.
  • Of adolescents with eating disorders, the 17- to 18-year-old age group had the highest prevalence .

Researchers followed a group of 496 adolescent girls in a U.S. city over a span of eight years and found that by the age of 20:;

  • More than 5% of the girls met the criteria for anorexia, bulimia, or binge eating disorder.
  • More than 13% of the girls had experienced an eating disorder when including non-specific eating disorder symptoms.

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Eating Disorders And Income Education And Ethnicity

  • Most people with eating disorders have similar;households;incomes and education levels as the general population .;;ion 2020a).
  • Eating disorders occur in all ethnicities, nationalities and cultural backgrounds;.;
  • A 2019 review found that at any one-time prevalence of eating disorders is;4.6% in America, 2.2% in Europe and 3.5% in Asia .;

Eating Disorders And Covid

  • People with an eating disorder may be at increased risk of exacerbation of symptoms during the COVID-19 pandemic,;including greater levels of anxiety and stress due to social isolation .;
  • Initial Australian research indicates the COVID-19 pandemic has negatively impacted eating disorders with an increase in restriction, binge eating, purging and exercise behaviours in those with eating disorders and increased restriction;and binge eating in the general population .;

Learn more about eating disorders and COVID-19

Early in the pandemic EDV put together a guide to COVID-19 and eating disorders.

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Lgbtq+ Eating Disorder Statistics

  • Gay men are seven times more likely to report binge-eating and twelve times more likely to report purging than heterosexual men.6
  • Gay and bisexual boys are significantly more likely to fast, vomit, or take laxatives or diet pills to control their weight.6
  • Transgender college students report experiencing disordered eating at approximately four times the rate of their cisgender classmates.7
  • 32% of transgender people report using their eating disorder to modify their body without hormones.8
  • 56% of transgender people with eating disorders believe their disorder is not related to their physical body.8
  • Gender dysphoria and body dissatisfaction in transgender people is often cited as a key link to eating disorders.7
  • Non-binary people may restrict their eating to appear thin, consistent with the common stereotype of androgynous people in popular culture.7

Other Types Of Eating Disorders

Frequent Questions about Eating Disorders…

In addition to the anorexia, bulimia and binge eating disorder, there are other types of eating disorders which may not be as common. These include pica, rumination disorder and night eating syndrome.

  • Individuals with pica feel an intense urge to consume certain non-food items, such as clay, dirt or paint.
  • Individuals with rumination disorder regurgitate food that has previously been swallowed.
  • With night eating syndrome, individuals wake up at night and overeat regularly.

Related Topic:Pica treatment

Eating disorders are mental illnesses that are not only emotionally damaging but can also pose a significant threat to physical health. Thankfully with treatment, there is hope to reverse these complications.

If you or someone you love is coping with co-occurring substance use and eating disorders, treatment is available. The Recovery Village provides comprehensive care for co-occurring addiction and mental health conditions, including online counseling and teletherapy. Finding the right treatment program for the person with substance addiction and an eating disorder is essential for recovery, and were here to help whenever you need us. Reach out today for more information.

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Bipoc Eating Disorder Statistics

  • BIPOC are significantly less likely than white people to have been asked by a doctor about eating disorder symptoms.3
  • BIPOC with eating disorders are half as likely to be diagnosed or to receive treatment.2
  • Black people are less likely to be diagnosed with anorexia than white people but may experience the condition for a longer period of time.4
  • Black teenagers are 50% more likely than white teenagers to exhibit bulimic behavior, such as binge-eating and purging.3
  • Hispanic people are significantly more likely to suffer from bulimia nervosa than their non-Hispanic peers.3
  • Asian American college students report higher rates of restriction compared with their white peers and higher rates of purging, muscle building, and cognitive restraint than their white or non-Asian, BIPOC peers.5
  • Asian American college students report higher levels of body dissatisfaction and negative attitudes toward obesity than their non-Asian, BIPOC peers.5

Public Perception Of Eating Disorders

In spite of the risks of eating disorders, many people feel like the disease is not as serious as it is. In fact, many Americans think eating disorders are simply a cry for attention. Others think that whether someone wants to lose weight or wants to remain skinny is;a personal choice and all that has to be done to remedy the situation is to start eating normally. When dating, some people agreed that a partner with an eating disorder would be more attractive, and others stated they wouldnt date someone with a mental illness but would date someone with an eating disorder.

There are also many misconceptions about the treatment and recovery of eating disorders. One of the most common responses to someone with an eating disorder is just eat something. Also, many people think once a person with an eating disorder begins to gain weight or gets to a normal weight then he or she is cured.

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Veterans Eating Disorder Statistics

  • The most common type of eating disorders among military members is bulimia nervosa.15
  • Body dysmorphic disorder affects 1-3% of the overall population but 13% of male military members and 21.7% of female military members.15
  • A survey of 3,000 female military members found that the majority of respondents exhibited eating disorder symptoms.15
  • One study found high rates of body dissatisfaction and previous disordered eating behaviors in a sample of young, female Marine Corps recruits.15

Athletes Eating Disorder Statistics

10 Most Common Types of Eating Disorders. #7 Involves ...
  • Athletes report higher rates of excessive exercise than nonathletes.14
  • Athletes are more likely to screen positive for an eating disorder than nonathletes, but percentages across all probable eating disorder diagnoses are similar.14
  • Athletes may be less likely to seek treatment for an eating disorder due to stigma, accessibility, and sportspecific barriers.14

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Depression Is Complicated This Is How Our Understanding Of The Condition Has Evolved Over Time

People often think of depression as a single, uniform condition deep sadness and a loss of interest in the activities that someone usually enjoys. But depression is complicated and its difficult to define what it means in an objective way.;

This is because depression is a condition of the mind: it is diagnosed based on peoples psychological symptoms and behavior, not from a brain scan or markers in their blood or DNA.;

When we diagnose depression, we have to rely on people to recall their own symptoms. We have to trust that doctors will observe and probe their symptoms reliably. We have to analyze this information to understand what people with depression experience that other people dont.;

Our ability to do all of these things accurately has changed over time, and so has our understanding of depression.;

This comes down to three factors.;

First, many countries now screen for depression in the general population, not just in a subset of people who are seen by a small number of doctors. In many studies, researchers track patients over long periods of time to understand how the condition progresses.

Second, we use questionnaires and interviews that treat depression as a condition that can occur at different levels and change with time.;

Third, we have better statistical tools to help us refine questionnaires and understand how symptoms are related to one another.;

Surveying depression in the general population

Measuring depression on levels

Analyzing depression with more rigour

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