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. 

  • Eating disorders affect all individual regardless of their race or ethnic groups 

  • 16% of transgender college students reported having an eating disorder 

  • The National Eating Disorder Association states that 10 million women suffer from an eating disorder; an even higher number 

  • 10-15% of all Americans suffer from a type of a serious eating disorder 

  • 61% of Americans adults are either obese or overweight 

  • Approximately 10-15% of people who have anorexia or bulimia are males. Various clinicians that 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. 

  • 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. 

  • Until now, only 50% of the individuals with this deathly disease state that they are cured or recovered. 

  • One in 200 American women suffer from anorexia 

  • 2-3 in 100 American women suffer from bulimia 

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

  • around 10% of college women suffer from a clinical or almost clinical eating disorder; 5.1% suffer from bulimia nervosa 

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

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: 

  • 5-10% of anorexics die within 10 years after developing the disorder and 18-20% of anorexics will be dead after 20 years

  • Anorexia nervosa has the highest death rate compared to any psychiatric illness (including major depression) 

  • The mortality rate connected with anorexia nervosa is 12 times higher than the death rate of ALL causes of death for females who are 15-24 years old.

  • Without help/treatment, up to 20% of people who have serious eating disorders die. With treatment, the mortality rate decreases to 2-3% 

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. 

  • The cost of outpatient treatment (with therapy and medical monitoring) can reach up ton$100,000 or more

  • 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. 

Eating Disorders in Children and Adolescents: 

  • Anorexia is the third most common chronic illness that affects adolescents 

  • 50% of girls between the ages of 11-13 see themselves as overweight 

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

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

  • 10% report that an eating disorder begins at ten years or younger 

  • 80% of 13-year-olds have tried to lose weight 

  • 50% of girls between the ages of 11 and 13 view themselves as overweight

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. 

  • 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. 

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

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