Eating Disorder Statistics

The following article was taken from a bulletin from the Eating Disorders Coalition.


National Household Survey:

The first nationally representative study of eating disorders in the United States appeared in the February 2007 edition of Biological Psychiatry. The National Comorbidity Survey Replication (NCS-R), a nationally representative survey of the U.S. population, was administered face-to-face to a sample of 9,282 English-speaking adults ages 18 and older between February 2001 and December 2003.

Among the results:

  • Lifetime prevalence of individual eating disorders is 0.6 – 4.5 percent.
  • Lifetime prevalence of anorexia nervosa is 0.9 percent in women, 0.3 percent in men.
  • Lifetime prevalence of bulimia nervosa is 1.5 percent in women, 0.5 percent in men.
  • Lifetime prevalence of binge eating disorder is 3.5 percent in women, 2.0 percent in men.
  • Eating disorders frequently impair the sufferer’s home, work, personal, and social life.
  • Binge eating is more common than anorexia or bulimia and is commonly associated with severe obesity.
  • Eating disorders display substantial comorbidity with other mental health disorders.
  • While eating disorders often coexist with other mental health disorders, eating disorders often go undiagnosed and untreated. A low number of sufferers obtain treatment for the eating disorder.
  • Researchers found a surprisingly high rate of anorexia and bulimia among men, representing approximately one fourth of the cases of each disorder.


Biological Psychiatry, “The Prevalence and Correlates of Eating Disorders in the National Comorbidity Survey Replication,” pages 348-358, by James I. Hudson, Eva Hiripi, Jr., Harrison G. Pope, and Ronald C. Kessler.



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