At least 20 million women and 10 million men in the United States suffer from an eating disorder at some point in their life. (1)

Binge eating disorder is three times more common than anorexia and bulimia combined. Binge eating disorder is also more common than breast cancer, HIV, and schizophrenia. (2)

25% of individuals with anorexia and bulimia and 36% of individuals with binge eating disorder are male. (2)

Eating disorders are the third most common chronic illness among adolescent females. (3)

The best-known contributor to the development of anorexia and bulimia is body dissatisfaction. (4) For 40-60% of elementary school girls, concerns about weight regulation and body satisfaction begin between the ages of 6 and 12. (5)

A carefully controlled trial evaluating the effectiveness of a family-based treatment approach found 50 percent of participants continued to experience full remission one year after the end of therapy. (6)

Anorexia nervosa has the highest mortality rate of any psychiatric disorder,(7) but only one-third of individuals suffering from this disease receive treatment. (8)

Eating disorders affect a large percentage of US military personnel. One study even found that this percentage increases for both men and women as they continue their service. (9)

The prevalence of eating disorders is similar among Non-Hispanic Whites, Hispanics, African-Americans, and Asians in the United States, with the exception that anorexia nervosa is more common among Non-Hispanic Whites. (10)

The average amount of dollars spent on eating disorder research per affected individual is $0.93. To compare, research dollars spent on autism per affected individual is $44; research dollars spent on schizophrenia per affected individual is $81; research dollars spent on Alzheimer’s disease per affected individual is $88. (11)


1. Wade, T.D., Keski-Rahkonen, A., & Hudson, J. I. (2011). Epidemiology of Eating Disorders, in Textbook of Psychiatric Epidemiology, Third Edition (eds M. Tsuang, M. Tohen & P.B. Jones), John Wiley & Sons, Ltd, Chichester, UK. doi: 10.1002/9780470976739.ch20

2. Hudson, J.I., HIripi, E., Pope, H.G., & Kessler, R.C. (2007). The prevalence and correlates of eating disorders in the National Comorbidity Survey Replication. Biological Psychiatry, 61(3), 348-58. doi: 10.1016/j.biopsych.2006.03.040

3. Kalisvaart, J.L., & Hergenroeder, A.C. (2007). Hospitalization of patients with eating disorders on adolescent medical units is threatened by current reimbursement systems. International Journal of Adolescent Medicine and Health, 19(2), 155-65. doi:

4. Stice, E. (2002). Risk and maintenance factors for eating pathology: A meta-analytic review. Psychological Bulletin, 128(5), 825-848. doi: 10.1037/0033-2909.128.5.825

5. Cash, T., & Smolak, L. (2011). Body image: A handbook of science, practice, and prevention (2nded.). NY: Guilford.

6. Lock J et al. Randomized clinical trial comparing family-based treatment with adolescent-focused individual therapy for adolescents with anorexia nervosa. Archives of General Psychiatry. 2010 Oct. 67(10):1025-1032.

7. Arcelus, J., Mitchell, A.J., Wales, J., & Nielsen, S. (2011). Mortality rates in patients with anorexia nervosa and other eating disorders: A meta-analysis of 36 studies. Archives of General Psychiatry, 68(7), 724-31. doi: 10.1001/archgenpsychiatry.2011.74

8. The National Institute of Mental Health: Eating Disorders: Facts about Eating Disorders and the Search for Solutions. Pub No. 01-4901. Accessed Feb. 2002.

9. Smink, F.E., van Hoeken, D., & Hoek, H.W. (2012). Epidemiology of eating disorders: Incidence, prevalence and mortality rates. Current Psychiatry Reports, 14(4), 406-414.

10. Wade, T. D., Keski-Rahkonen A., & Hudson J. (2011). Epidemiology of eating disorders. In M. Tsuang and M. Tohen (Eds.), Textbook in Psychiatric Epidemiology (3rd ed.) (pp. 343-360). New York: Wiley.

11. The National Institute of Health: Estimates of Funding for Various Research, Condition, and Disease Categories (RCDC). Accessed Aug. 2017.