Eating Disorder Statistics: 2017

As parents, few things can make us feel more isolated than finding out one of our own children is suffering from an eating disorder. However, teenage eating disorders are surprisingly common in the United States. Although most people choose not to speak openly about it, thousands of families across the country know what you’re going through. Whether your child is struggling with Anorexia, Bulimia or Binge Eating disorder, you’re not alone. Let’s take a closer look at teenage eating disorder statistics in 2017.

Group of junior high school girls and boys taking a selfie outside.

5.4% of children between the ages of 13 and 18 will suffer from Anorexia, Bulimia or Binge Eating disorder at some point in their lifetime.

Eating Disorder Statistics among Children Aged 13-18

5.4% of children between the ages of 13 and 18 will suffer from Anorexia, Bulimia or Binge Eating disorder at some point in their lifetime. Roughly speaking, that’s more than 2.2 million adolescents.

  • About half of these children (2.7%) will suffer from a mild-moderate eating disorder while the other half will suffer from a severe eating disorder.
  • 3.8% of children with a lifetime prevalence of either mild-moderate or severe eating disorders will be female.
  • 1.5% of those children will be male.

This information comes to us from the National Institute of Mental Health, a government body dedicated to transforming the understanding and treatment of mental illnesses.

Funding for Eating Disorder Research Compared to Other Illnesses

In the United States alone, eating disorders will affect 30 million men, women and children in their lifetime. That’s more than Alzheimer’s, Schizophrenia and Autism combined. And yet, here’s where the funding money goes:

  • $450 million goes to Alzheimer’s research, a disease with a prevalence of 5.1 million people.
  • $276 million goes to Schizophrenia research, a disease with a prevalence of 3.4 million people.
  • $160 million goes to Autism research, a disease with a prevalence of 3.6 million people.
  • $28 million goes to eating disorder research, a group of diseases with a prevalence of 30 million people.

Of course, all diseases deserve ample funding and research, but one glance at the numbers and it’s easy to see how disproportionately the money is distributed.

General Eating Disorder Statistics

  • 95% of people who suffer from eating disorders are between the ages of 12 and 25.
  • 70% of people who have an eating disorder will not seek treatment for one reason or another.
  • 50% of teenage girls and 33% of teenage boys will engage in unhealthy weight control behaviors.
  • Bulimia and Binge Eating Disorder tend to run in families.
  • 10 million men will struggle with an eating disorder in their lifetime.
  • Eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of any mental illness

Looking Beyond the Eating Disorder Statistics

The purpose of this post is not to scare you. Rather, it’s to show you that no matter what you might be feeling right now, countless other people have felt the same way. We also have one more statistic for you to consider: 60 percent of the people who seek professional eating disorder treatment get better and go on to live healthy, fulfilling lives. And, at Adolescent Growth, that’s exactly what we help our clients do. Learn more about our comprehensive eating disorder rehab program, or call us today to get started.

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Young parents research eating disorder treatment costs.A smiling teenage boy stands outside with his friends after overcoming an eating disorder