Eating Disorder Statistics

General statistics:

  • At least 30 million people of all ages and genders suffer from an eating disorder in the U.S. 1, 2
  • Every 62 minutes at least one person dies as a direct result from an eating disorder.3
  • Eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of any mental illness.4
  • 13% of women over 50 engage in eating disorder behaviors.5
  • In a large national study of college students, 3.5% sexual minority women and 2.1% of sexual minority men reported having an eating disorder.6
  • 16% of transgender college students reported having an eating disorder.6
  • In a study following active duty military personnel over time, 5.5% of women and 4% of men had an eating disorder at the beginning of the study, and within just a few years of continued service, 3.3% more women and 2.6% more men developed an eating disorder.7
  • Eating disorders affect all races and ethnic groups.8
  • Genetics, environmental factors, and personality traits all combine to create risk for an eating disorder.9

Anorexia Nervosa:

  • 0.9% of American women suffer from anorexia in their lifetime.1
  • 1 in 5 anorexia deaths is by suicide.10
  • Standardized Mortality Ratio (SMR) is a ratio between the observed number of deaths in an study population and the number of deaths would be expected. SMR for Anorexia Nervosa is 5.86.10
  • 50-80% of the risk for anorexia and bulimia is genetic.11
  • 33-50% of anorexia patients have a comorbid mood disorder, such as depression. Mood disorders are more common in the binge/purge subtype than in the restrictive subtype.12
  • About half of anorexia patients have comorbid anxiety disorders, including obsessive-compulsive disorder and social phobia.12

Bulimia Nervosa:

  • 1.5% of American women suffer from bulimia nervosa in their lifetime.1
  • SMR for Bulimia Nervosa is 1.93.10
  • Nearly half of bulimia patients have a comorbid mood disorder.12
  • More than half of bulimia patients have comorbid anxiety disorders.12
  • Nearly 1 in 10 bulimia patients have a comorbid substance abuse disorder, usually alcohol use. 12

Binge Eating Disorder (BED):

  • 2.8% of American adults suffer from binge eating disorder in their lifetime.1
  • Approximately half of the risk for BED is genetic.12
  • Nearly half of BED patients have a comorbid mood disorder.12
  • More than half of BED patients have comorbid anxiety disorders.12
  • Nearly 1 in 10 BED patients have a comorbid substance abuse disorder, usually alcohol use. 12
  • Binge eating or loss-of-control eating may be as high as 25% in post-bariatric patients. 13

Other Specified Feeding or Eating Disorder (OSFED)[Previously called Eating Disorder Not Otherwise Specified or EDNOS]:

  • OSFED, as revised in the DSM-5, includes atypical anorexia nervosa (anorexia without the low weight), bulimia or BED with lower frequency of behaviors, purging disorder, and night eating syndrome.
  • SMR for EDNOS is 1.92.10
  • Nearly half of EDNOS patients have a comorbid mood disorder. 12
  • Nearly 1 in 10 EDNOS patients have a comorbid substance abuse disorder, usually alcohol use.12

Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake Disorder (ARFID) 14:

  • ARFID is more than just “picky eating”. Children do not grow out of it and often become malnourished because of the limited variety of foods they will eat.
  • The prevalence of ARFID is still being studied but may be 3-5% of children.
  • Boys might have a higher risk for this disorder than girls.


  • Diabulimia is deliberate insulin underuse in people with type 1 diabetes for the purpose of controlling weight.
  • About 38% of females and 16% of males with type 1 diabetes have disordered eating behaviors.15
  • Insulin omission increases risks for retinopathy, neuropathy, and diabetic ketoacidosis.
  • In a longitudinal study, diabulimia increased mortality risk threefold.16


  1. 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), 348–358.
  2. Le Grange, D., Swanson, S. A., Crow, S. J., & Merikangas, K. R. (2012). Eating disorder not otherwise specified presentation in the US population. International Journal of Eating Disorders, 45(5), 711-718.
  3. Eating Disorders Coalition. (2016). Facts About Eating Disorders: What The Research Shows.
  4. 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.
  5. Gagne, D. A., Von Holle, A., Brownley, K. A., Runfola, C. D., Hofmeier, S., Branch, K. E., & Bulik, C. M. (2012). Eating disorder symptoms and weight and shape concerns in a large web‐based convenience sample of women ages 50 and above: Results of the gender and body image (GABI) study. International Journal of Eating Disorders, 45(7), 832-844.
  6. Diemer, E. W., Grant, J. D., Munn-Chernoff, M. A., Patterson, D., & Duncan, A. E. (2015). Gender identity, sexual orientation, and eating-related pathology in a national sample of college students. Journal of Adolescent Health, 57(2), 144-149.
  7. Jacobson, I. G., Smith, T. C., Smith, B., Keel, P. K., Amoroso, P. J., Wells, T. S., Bathalon, G. P., Boyko, E. J., & Ryan, M. A. (2009). Disordered eating and weight changes after deployment: Longitudinal assessment of a large US military cohort. American Journal of Epidemiology, 169(4), 415-427.
  8. Marques, L., Alegria, M., Becker, A. E., Chen, C.-n., Fang, A., Chosak, A., & Diniz, J. B. (2011). Comparative prevalence, correlates of impairment, and service utilization for eating disorders across US ethnic groups: implications for reducing ethnic disparities in health care access for eating disorders. International Journal of Eating Disorders, 44(5), 412-4120.
  9. Culbert, K. M., Racine, S. E., & Klump, K. L. (2015). Research Review: What we have learned about the causes of eating disorders – a synthesis of sociocultural, psychological, and biological research. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 56(11), 1141-1164.
  10. 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), 724-731.
  11. Trace, S. E., Baker, J. H., Peñas-Lledó, E., & Bulik, C. M. (2013). The genetics of eating disorders. Annual Review of Clinical Psychology, 9, 589-620.
  12. Ulfvebrand, S., Birgegard, A., Norring, C., Hogdahl, L., & von Hausswolff-Juhlin, Y. (2015). Psychiatric comorbidity in women and men with eating disorders results from a large clinical database. Psychiatry Research, 230(2), 294-299.
  13. Berkman ND, Brownley KA, Peat CM, Lohr KN, Cullen KE, Morgan LC, Bann CM, Wallace IF, Bulik CM. Management and Outcomes of Binge-Eating Disorder. Comparative Effectiveness Review No. 160.
  14. Norris, M. L., Spettigue, W., & Katzman, D. K. (2016). Update on eating disorders: current perspectives on avoidant/restrictive food intake disorder in children and youth. Neuropsychiatric Disease and Treatment, 12, 213-218.
  15. Hanlan, M. E., Griffith, J., Patel, N., & Jaser, S. S. (2013). Eating disorders and disordered eating in Type 1 diabetes: prevalence, screening, and treatment options. Current Diabetes Reports, 13(6), 909-916.
  16. Goebel-Fabbri, A. E., Fikkan, J., Franko, D. L., Pearson, K., Anderson, B. J., & Weinger, K. (2008). Insulin restriction and associated morbidity and mortality in women with type 1 diabetes. Diabetes Care, 31(3), 415-419.