Eating Disorders Statistics

This week I want to explore the ugly side of fitness: eating disorders. I think I can safely make the statement, that everyone who works in the fitness industry has had a run-in, if not themselves, than with someone suffering from an eating disorder. In an industry that focuses 100% on every aspect of your outward appearance, it is hard to escape the clutches of “am I thin enough”, “am I fit enough”?

To get started, we’re going to look at the boring- but vital- statistics. Some of these are startling, read on:

General:

  • Almost 50% of people with eating disorders meet the criteria for depression.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • It is estimated that 8 million Americans have eating disorders – seven million women and one million men.
  • 1 in 200 American women suffers from anorexia.
  • 2-3 in 100 American women suffers from bulimia.
  • Nearly half of all Americans personally know someone with an eating disorder.
  • An estimated 10 – 15% of people with anorexia or bulimia are males.

Students:

  • 91% of women surveyed on a college campus had attempted to control their weight through dieting. 22% dieted “often” or “always.”
  • 86% report onset of eating disorder by age 20; 43% report onset between ages of 16 and 20.
  • Anorexia is the third most common chronic illness among adolescents.
  • 95% of those who have eating disorders are between the ages of 12 and 25.
  • 50% of girls between the ages of 11 and 13 see themselves as overweight.
  • 80% of 13-year-olds have attempted to lose weight.
  • 25% of college-aged women engage in bingeing and purging as a weight-management technique.
  • 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.
  • 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 laxatives.
  • 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.

Men:

  • 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 they are “woman’s diseases.”
  • Among gay men, nearly 14% appeared to suffer from bulimia and over 20% appeared to be anorexic.

Media, Perception, Dieting:

  • 95% of all dieters will regain their lost weight within 5 years.
  • 35% of “normal dieters” progress to pathological dieting. Of those, 20-25% progress to partial or full-syndrome eating disorders.
  • The body type portrayed in advertising as the ideal is possessed naturally by only 5% of American females.
  • 47% of girls in 5th-12th grade reported wanting to lose weight because of magazine pictures.
  • 69% of girls in 5th-12th grade reported that magazine pictures influenced their idea of a perfect body shape.
  • 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).
  • Essence magazine, in 1994, reported that 53.5% of their respondents, African-American females were at risk of an eating disorder Collins, M.E. (1991).

 For Women:

  • 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.
  • An estimated 0.5 to 3.7 percent of women suffer from anorexia nervosa in their lifetime. Research suggests that about 1 percent of female adolescents have anorexia.
  • An estimated 1.1 to 4.2 percent of women have bulimia nervosa in their lifetime.
  • An estimated 2 to 5 percent of Americans experience binge-eating disorder in a 6-month period.
  • About 50 percent of people who have had anorexia develop bulimia or bulimic patterns.
  • 20% of people suffering from anorexia will prematurely die from complications related to their eating disorder, including suicide and heart problems.

Mortality Rates:

  • Although eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of any mental disorder,  the mortality rates reported on those who suffer from eating disorders can vary considerably between studies and sources. Part of the reason why there is a large variance in the reported number of deaths caused by eating disorders is because those who suffer from an eating disorder may ultimately die of heart failure, organ failure, malnutrition or suicide. Often, the medical complications of death are reported instead of the eating disorder that  compromised a person’s health.
  • A study by the National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders reported that 5 – 10% of anorexics die within 10 years after contracting the disease; 18-20% of anorexics will be dead after 20 years and only 30 – 40% ever fully recover.
  • The mortality rate associated with Anorexia Nervosa is 12 times higher than the death rate of ALL causes of death for females 15 – 24 years old.
  • 20% of people suffering from anorexia will prematurely die from complications related to their eating disorder, including suicide and heart problems.

Athletes:

  • Risk Factors: In judged sports – sports that score participants – prevalence of eating disorders is 13% (compared with 3% in refereed sports).
  • Significantly higher rates of eating disorders found in elite athletes (20%), than in a female control group (9%).
  • Female athletes in aesthetic sports (e.g. gynmastics, ballet, figure skating) found to be at the highest risk for eating disorders.
  • A comparison of the psychological profiles of athletes and those with anorexia found these factors in common: perfectionism, high self-expectations, competitiveness, hyperactivity, repetitive exercise routines, compulsiveness, drive, tendency toward depression, body image distortion, pre-occupation with dieting and weight.

ACCESS TO TREATMENT

  • Only 1 in 10 people with eating disorders receive treatment.
  • About 80% of the girls/women who have accessed care for their eating disorders do not get the intensity of treatment they need to stay in recovery – they are often sent home weeks earlier than the recommended stay.
  • Treatment of an eating disorder in the US ranges from $500 per day to $2,000 per day. The average cost for a month of inpatient treatment is $30,000. It is estimated that individuals with eating disorders need anywhere from 3 – 6 months of inpatient care. Health insurance companies for several reasons do not typically cover the cost of treating eating disorders.
  • The cost of outpatient treatment, including therapy and medical monitoring, can extend to $100,000 or more.

Sources:

http://www.anad.org/get-information/about-eating-disorders/eating-disorders-statistics/

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.

About SuzieSloth

I am a Certified Personal Trainer and Martial Arts Instructor with a passion for physical fitness and a background in public health. I love learning new things about the fitness world and about innovations in all health fields. I like to share tidbits that I find in magazines or on the internet with friends and clients. Please feel free to email me with questions or comments, or leave comments on any post on my blog. And make sure to stop by my website: http://www.formfitsfunction.net View all posts by SuzieSloth

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