Kristi L Shohet, MS, LCPC, CEDS

"If I can stop one heart from breaking, I shall not live in vain."

-- Emily Dickenson

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U.S. Statistics on Eating Disorders

  • 20 million women and 10 million men suffer from a clinically significant eating disorder at some time in their life, including anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, binge eating disorder, or an eating disorder not otherwise specified (EDNOS).


  • Four out of 10 Americans either suffered or have known someone who has suffered from an eating disorder.



  • By age 6, girls especially start to express concerns about their own weight or shape.


  • 40-60% of elementary school girls (ages 6-12) are concerned about their weight or about becoming too fat.  This concern endures through life.



  • 46% of nine-to 11year olds are “sometimes” or “very often” on diets and 82% of their families are “sometimes” or “very often” on diets.


  • Even among clearly non-overweight girls, over one-third report dieting.



  • 35% of “normal dieters” progress to pathological dieting. Of those, 20-25% progress to partial or full-syndrome eating disorders.


  • Over one-half of teenage girls and nearly one-third of teenage boys use unhealthy weight to control behaviors such as skipping meals, fasting, smoking cigarettes, vomiting and taking laxatives.


  • There has been a rise in incidence of anorexia in young women 15-19 in each decade since 1930.



  • The rate of development of new cases of eating disorders overall has been increasing since 1950.


  • 40% of newly identified cases of anorexia are in girls 15-19 years old.
  • The prevalence of eating disorders is similar among non-Hispanic Whites, Hispanics, African-Americans and Asians, with the exception that anorexia nervosa is more common among non-Hispanic Whites.


  • It is common for eating disorders to occur with one or more other psychiatric disorders, which can complicate treatment and make recovery more difficult. Among those who suffer from eating disorders, alcohol and other substance abuse disorders are four times more common than in the general populations.
  • The average American woman is 5’4” tall and weighs 165 pounds. The average Miss America winner is 5’7” and weighs 121 pounds.


  • Most fashion models are thinner than 98% of American women.
  • For females between 15-and 24-years-old who suffer from anorexia nervosa, the mortality rate associated with the illness is 12 times higher than the death rate of all other causes of death.

                                                  The National Eating Disorder Association