Facts and Findings


Facts

  • More than 5 million Americans experience eating disorders.  (14)
  • Anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and binge-eating disorder are diseases that affect the mind and body simultaneously.  (14)
  • Three percent of adolescent and adult women and 1% of men have anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, or binge-eating disorder.  (14)
  • A young woman with anorexia is 12 times more likely to die than other women her age without anorexia.  (19)
  • Fifteen percent of young women have substantially disordered eating attitudes and behaviors.  (13)
  • Between 10% and 15% of those diagnosed with bulimia nervosa are men.  (1)
  • Forty percent of fourth graders report that they diet either “very often” or “sometimes.”  (8)
  • About half of those with anorexia or bulimia have a full recovery, 30% have a partial recovery, and 20% have no substantial improvement.  (10)

Findings

  • In a study of children aged 8 to 10, approximately half of the girls and one third of the boys were dissatisfied with their size. However, most dissatisfied girls wanted to be thinner while about equal numbers of dissatisfied boys wanted to be heavier. Boys wanted to grow into their bodies, whereas girls were more worried about their bodies growing. (5)
  • In a study of girls aged 9 to 12, slightly more than half reported exercising to lose weight, slightly less than half reported eating less to lose weight, and approximately 1 out of 20 reported using diet pills or laxatives to lose weight. (17)
  • Recent findings indicate that girls who smoke to suppress their appetite are a group of new nicotine addicts. The cigarette industry is aggressively targeting the vulnerability of girls who want to lose weight. (16)
  • Girls who participate in elite competitive sports, such as ice-skating, gymnastics, crew, dance, in which body shape and size are a factor in performance are more at risk for eating disorders than girls who do not compete in such sports. Boys who participate in similar sports, including wrestling, are also at increased risk. (20)

References

  1. Males with eating disorders: Challenges for treatment and research
    Andersen, A.E., & Holman, J.E. (1997). Males with eating disorders: Challenges for treatment and research. Psychopharmacology Bulletin, 33(3), 391-397.
  2. Diet vs. shape content of popular male and female magazines: A dose response relationship to the incidence of eating disorders?
    Andersen, A.E., & DiDomenico, L. (1992). Diet vs. shape content of popular male and female magazines: A dose response relationship to the incidence of eating disorders? International Journal of Eating Disorders, 11(3), 283-287.
  3. The relationship between body weight concerns and adolescent smoking
    Camp, D.E., Klesges, R.C., & Relyea, G. (1993). The relationship between body weight concerns and adolescent smoking. Health Psychology.  12(1), 24-32.
  4. Eating disorders in males: A report on 135 patients
    Carlat, D.J., Carmago, C.A., & Herzog, D.B. (1997). Eating disorders in males: A report on 135 patients. American Journal of Psychiatry, 154(8), 1127-1132.
  5. Review of bulimia nervosa in males
    Carlat, D.J., & Carmago, C.A. (1991). Review of bulimia nervosa in males. American Journal of Psychiatry, 148, 831-843.
  6. Body figure perceptions and preferences among pre-adolescent children
    Collins, M.E. (1991). Body figure perceptions and preferences among pre-adolescent children. International Journal of Eating Disorders, 10(2), 199-208.
  7. Studies of the epidemiology of bulimia nervosa
    Fairburn, C.G., & Beglin, S.J. (1990). Studies of the epidemiology of bulimia nervosa. American Journal of Psychiatry, 147(4), 401-408.
  8. Weight-related behaviors and concerns of fourth-grade children
    Gustafson-Larson, A., & Terry, R.D. (1992). Weight-related behaviors and concerns of fourth-grade children. Journal of the American Dietetic Association, 92, 818-822.
  9. A weight on children’s minds: Body shape dissatisfactions at 9-years old
    Hill, A.J., Draper, E., & Stack, J. (1994). A weight on children’s minds: Body shape dissatisfactions at 9-years old. International Journal of Obesity and Related Metabolic Disorders, 18(6), 383-389.
  10. Long-term outcome of bulimia nervosa
    Keel, P.K., Mitchell, J.E., Miller, K.B., Davis, T.L., & Crow, S.J. (1999). Long-term outcome of bulimia nervosa. Archives of General Psychiatry, 56(1), 63-69.
  11. Self-induced vomiting and laxative and diuretic use among teenagers: Precursors of the binge-purge syndrome?
    Killen, J.D., Taylor, C.B., Telch, M.J., Saylor, K.E., Maron, D.J., & Robinson, T.N. (1986). Self-induced vomiting and laxative and diuretic use among teenagers: Precursors of the binge-purge syndrome? Journal of the American Medical Association, 255, 1447-1449.
  12. Prevalence of disorder eating in girls: A survey of middle-class children
    Mellin, L.M., Irwin, C.E., & Scully, S. (1992). Prevalence of disorder eating in girls: A survey of middle-class children. Journal of the American Dietetic Association, 92, 851-853.
  13. Prevalence and correlates of eating disordered behaviors among undergraduate women
    Mintz, L.B., & Betz, N.E. (1988). Prevalence and correlates of eating disordered behaviors among undergraduate women. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 35(4), 463-471.
  14. Eating disorders
    National Institute of Mental Health. (1994). Eating disorders. NIH Publication No. 94-3477. Rockville, MD.
  15. From the Cleavers to the Clintons: Role choices and body orientation as reflected in magazine article content
    Nemeroff, C.J., Stein, R.I., Diehl, N.S., & Smilack, K.M. (1994). From the Cleavers to the Clintons: Role choices and body orientation as reflected in magazine article content. International Journal of Eating Disorders, 16(2), 167-176.
  16. The level of competition as a factor for the development of eating disorders in female collegiate athletes
    Picard, C.L. (1999, October). The level of competition as a factor for the development of eating disorders in female collegiate athletes. Journal of Youth & Adolescence, 28(5), 583-594.
  17. Weight control practices of US adolescents and adults
    Serdula, M.K., Collins, E., Williamson, D.F., Anda, R.F., Pamuk, E., & Byers, T.E. (1993). Weight control practices of US adolescents and adults. Annals of Internal Medicine, 119, 667-671.
  18. Adverse effects of the media portrayed thin-ideal on women and linkages to bulimic symptomatology
    Stice, E., & Shaw, H.E. (1994). Adverse effects of the media portrayed thin-ideal on women and linkages to bulimic symptomatology. Journal of Social & Clinical Psychology, 13(3), 288-308.
  19. Mortality in Anorexia Nervosa
    Sullivan, P.F. (1995). Mortality in Anorexia Nervosa. American Journal of Psychiatry, 152(7), 1073-1074.
  20. Risk and trigger factors for the development of eating disorders in female elite athletes
    Sundgot-Borgen, J. (1994). Risk and trigger factors for the development of eating disorders in female elite athletes. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, 26(4), 414-419.