Eating Disorders Home > Eating Disorder Statistics

The latest statistics on eating disorders are alarming -- they demonstrate that no gender, social class, race, or culture is immune. Furthermore, a look at the statistics shows that people are starting to develop the conditions (and starting to become body- and weight-conscious) at earlier ages than before.

An Overview of Eating Disorder Statistics

The three main types of eating disorders are anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and binge-eating disorder. The following sections outline specific eating disorder statistics.
In their lifetime, an estimated 0.5 percent to 3.7 percent of females will develop anorexia.
The mortality rate among people with anorexia has been estimated at 0.56 percent per year, or approximately 5.6 percent per decade. This is about 12 times higher than the annual death rate due to all causes of death among females ages 15 to 24 in the general population.
Bulimia affects approximately 1 percent to 3 percent of adolescents in the United States, with the illness usually beginning in late adolescence or early adult life.
Binge-Eating Disorder
Community surveys have estimated that between 2 percent and 5 percent of Americans experience binge-eating disorder.


Statistics on Eating Disorders and Gender

Eating disorders are much more common in females than in males. Only an estimated 5 percent to 15 percent of people with anorexia or bulimia, and an estimated 35 percent of those with binge-eating disorder are male. However, recent studies have shown that incidence and prevalence rates are increasing among males.

Many boys with eating disorders share the same characteristics as their female counterparts, including low self-esteem, the need to be accepted, an inability to cope with emotional pressures, and family and relationship issues. Males with eating disorders are most commonly seen in specific subgroups. For instance, males who wrestle show a disproportionate increase in eating disorders -- rates 7 to 10 times higher than normal. Additionally, homosexual males have an increased rate of eating disorders.
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Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
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