How many individuals have eating disorders? 

  • The South Carolina Department of Mental Health estimates that around 8 million Americans (seven million women and one million men) have an eating disorder. [1]

  • Eating disorders affect all individual regardless of their race or ethnic groups. [3]

  • 16% of transgender college students reported having an eating disorder. [3]

  • The National Eating Disorder Association states at any given, around 0.3-0.4% of young women and 0.1% of young men will suffer from anorexia nervosa [2]

  • 10-15% of all Americans suffer from a type of a serious eating disorder. [4]

  • 61% of Americans adults are either obese or overweight. [4]

  • Approximately 10-15% of people who have anorexia or bulimia are males. Various clinicians believe there's a higher percentage but majority of the men are ashamed or embarrassed to admit that they may be suffering from an eating disorder. 

  • Newsweek magazine reported 40% of 131 football players from Cornell University engaged in eating disorder behaviors such as bingeing and purging; 10% classified as having clinical eating disorders. Various men suffer from bulimia under the impression that it helps them "stay in shape." In addition men will also use compulsive exercise as a way of purging. [4]

  • 77% of individuals with eating disorders state that the illness can last up to 15 years or longer. It is predicted that around 6% die from serious cases. For the others, there are serious consequences which can affect both their mental and physical health. [4}

  • One in 200 American women suffer from anorexia. [4]

  • 2-3 in 100 American women suffer from bulimia. [4]

  • 1.1%- 4.2% of females suffer from bulimia nervosa at a certain point in their life. [4] 

  • Around 10% of college women suffer from a clinical or almost clinical eating disorder; 5.1% suffer from bulimia nervosa. [4]

  • Studies show that by the first year of college, 4.5-18% of women and around 0.4% of men have a history of bulimia. [4]

How dangerous is an eating disorder? 

  • Eating disorders rank the highest in terms of mortality rate out of any mental illness. National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders (ANAD) have reported the following statistics: 

  • Every 62 minutes, a minimum of one person dies as a result from an eating disorder [3]

  • 1 out of 5 deaths from anorexia is by suicide [3]

  • Children who are hospilized for eating disorders increased by 119% between the years of 1999 and 2006. [5]

  • Young women who are diagnostced with anorexia are 12 times more likely to die than other women who are the same age and do not have anorexia. [5]

  • Only one in ten people suffereing will seek and recieve treatment. [5]

How many individuals acquire treatment for an eating disorder? 

  • Only 1 out of 10 people with eating disorders receive treatment. According to eating disorder statistics, around 80% of the females who have acquired care for their disorder do not get the adequate/intense treatment they need to stay in recovery; they are typically sent home weeks earlier than the recommended stay. [4]

  • The cost of outpatient treatment (with therapy and medical monitoring) can reach up to $100,000 or more. [4]

  • Treatment of an eating disorder ranges from $500 to $2000 per day in the United States. The average cost of inpatient treatment is around $30,000. It is predicted that individuals with an eating disorder need around 3-6 months of inpatient treatment. Health insurance companies do not usually cover the entire cost of the treatment. [4]

Eating Disorders in Children and Adolescents: 

  • Anorexia is the third most common chronic illness that affects adolescents. [4]

  • 50% of girls between the ages of 11-13 see themselves as overweight. [4]

  • Time magazine states that 80% of children have gone on a diet by the time they reached fourth grade. [4]

  • 86% of individuals with eating disorder state emergence of an eating disorder by age 20. [4]

  • 10% report that an eating disorder begins at ten years or younger. [4]

Dieting and Body image/distortions: 

  • Around 25 million men and 43 million women are on a diet to lose weight. In addition, 21 million men and 26 million women diet to maintain their weight. In total, roughly 116 million adults are dieting at any given time; this represents approximately 55% of the total adult population. [4]

  • 91% of women (survey done on a college campus) in the mid-90s had tried to control their weight by going on a diet. 22% often or always dieted. [4]

  • 35% or "normal dieters" develop to pathological dieting. Out of these, 20-25% develop to partial or full-blown eating disorders. [4]

[1] South Carolina Department of Mental Health. “South Carolina Department of Mental Health.” Eating Disorder Statistics,

[2] “Statistics & Research on Eating Disorders.” National Eating Disorders Association, 24 Apr. 2019,


[3] “Eating Disorder Statistics • National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders.” National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated


[4] ​“Eating Disorder Statistics.” Eating Disorder Information and Statistics,

[5] Farrar, Tabitha. “Eating Disorder Statistics.” Mirror Mirror, May 2014,