Statistics

Thirty-five to 57 percent of adolescent girls engage in crash dieting, fasting, self-induced vomiting, diet pills or laxatives. Overweight girls are more likely than normal weight girls to engage in such extreme dieting. (1)

Of American elementary school girls who read magazines, 69 percent say that the pictures influence their concept of the ideal body shape, and 47 percent say the pictures make them want to lose weight. (2)

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. (3)

In a survey of 185 female students on a college campus, 58 percent felt pressure to be a certain weight; and of the 83 percent that dieted for weight loss, 44 percent were of normal weight. (4)

It is estimated that 1.0 percent to 4.2 percent of women have suffered from anorexia in their lifetime. (5)

It is estimated that 4 percent of anorexic individuals die from complications of the disease. (6)

Only one-third of individuals struggling with anorexia nervosa in the United States obtain treatment. (7)

Nearly 4 percent of bulimic individuals will die from their disorder. (8)

A review of nearly 50 years of research confirms that anorexia nervosa has the highest mortality rate of any psychiatric disorder. (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 American woman is 5 feet 4 inches tall and weighs 165 pounds. The average Miss America winner is 5 feet 7 inches tall and weighs 121 pounds.

The average Body Mass Index of Miss America winners has decreased from around 22 in the 1920s to 16.9 in the 2000s. The World Health Organization classifies a normal BMI as falling between 18.5 and 24.9. (11)

1. Wertheim, E., Paxton, S., & Blaney, S. (2009). Body image in girls. L. Smolak & J. K. Thompson (Eds.), Body image, eating disorders, and obesity in youth: Assessment, prevention, and treatment (2nd ed.) (pp. 47-76). Washington, D.C.: American Psychological Association.

2. Martin, J. B. (2010). The Development of Ideal Body Image Perceptions in the United States. Nutrition Today, 45(3), 98-100. Retrieved from nursingcenter.com/pdf.asp?AID=1023485

3. 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.

4. Nutrition Journal. March 31, 2006.

5. The Renfrew Center Foundation for Eating Disorders, Eating Disorders 101 Guide: A Summary of Issues, Statistics and Resources, 2003.

6. Crow, S.J., Peterson, C.B., Swanson, S.A., Raymond, N.C., Specker, S., Eckert, E.D., Mitchell, J.E. (2009) Increased mortality in bulimia nervosa and other

7. Hoek and van Hoeken,2003. Review of the prevalence and incidence of eating disorders. International Journal of Eating Disorders, 386-396.

8. Crow, S.J., Peterson, C.B., Swanson, S.A., Raymond, N.C., Specker, S., Eckert, E.D., Mitchell, J.E. (2009) Increased mortality in bulimia nervosa and other eating disorders. American Journal of Psychiatry 166, 1342-1346.

9 . Arcelus, J., Mitchell, A. J., Wales, J., & Nielsen, S. (2011). Mortality rates in patients with Anorexia Nervosa and other eating disorders. Archives of General Psychiatry, 68(7), 724-731

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. Martin, 2010