Eating Disorder Statistics

Statistics on eating disorders show eating disorders are common in all segments of society. These eating disorders statistics also show they can be fatal.

Eating disorder statistics show eating disorders can affect anyone: men or women, young or old, rich or poor. Statistics on eating disorders clearly indicate these illnesses do not discriminate. Moreover, according to eating disorder stats, with a prevalence of over 10 million women in the United States suffering from an eating disorder, this is a widespread mental illness.

Statistics suggest this may be due to our culture's obsession with beauty. One eating disorder statistic shows 80% of women are dissatisfied with their appearance. Another statistic on eating disorders indicates 55% of the adult population of the United States is dieting at any given time.

Eating Disorder Statistics: Who Gets Eating Disorders?

While women experience eating disorders considerably more often than men, eating disorder stats show more and more men are being diagnosed with anorexia, bulimia and binge eating disorder.

  • In their lifetime, an estimated 0.6% of the adult population in the U.S. will suffer from anorexia, 1% from bulimia and 2.8% from binge eating disorder
  • One in 200 American women suffers from anorexia
  • Two to three in 100 American women suffers from bulimia
  • An estimated 10%-15% of people with anorexia or bulimia are males
  • By their first year of college, 4.5%-18% of women and 0.4% of men have a history of bulimia
  • 35% of "normal dieters" progress to pathological dieting. Of those, 20%-25% progress to partial or full-syndrome eating disorders.
  • Eating disorders are seen in equal amounts across races

Eating disorder statistics show women are much more likely than men to develop an eating disorder. These numbers reflect the lifetime likelihood of an eating disorder for women vs. men.

  • Women are three times as likely to experience anorexia (0.9% of women vs. 0.3% of men)
  • Women are three times as likely to experience bulimia (1.5% of women vs. 0.5% of men)
  • Women are 75% more likely to have a binge eating disorder (3.5% of women vs. 2% of men)

Eating Disorder Stats Reveal the Dangers of Eating Disorders

Eating disorders are mental illnesses with a shocking risk of death. Anorexia has the highest mortality rate of any mental illness. Eating disorder statistics show that 5%-10% of anorexics die within 10 years of contracting the disease and 18%-20% of anorexics will be dead after 20 years.

Statistics on recovery from eating disorders are perhaps even more frightening; one eating disorder statistic indicates only 30%-40% of anorexics ever fully recovering. Here are more statistics:

  • Only 1 in 10 people with an eating disorder receive treatment
  • The mortality rate among people with anorexia has been estimated at 0.56% per year, or approximately 5.6% per decade
  • The death rate of anorexia is about 12 times higher than the annual death rate due to all causes of death among females ages 15-24 in the general population
  • Without treatment, up to 20% of people with serious eating disorders die. With treatment, the mortality rate falls to 2%-3%.

article references

Eating disorder statistics provided by the United States National Institute on Mental Health, the South Carolina Department of Mental Health and the Mirasol Eating Disorder Recovery Center.

APA Reference
Tracy, N. (2022, January 4). Eating Disorder Statistics, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, June 24 from

Last Updated: January 12, 2022

Medically reviewed by Harry Croft, MD

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