Anorexia Statistics

Anorexia statistics are shocking. Many people do not realize until they look at the statistics on anorexia just how prevalent the potentially deadly eating disorder is. This page will provide you with an insight into the numbers behind anorexia.

According to Anorexia Nervosa and Related Eating Disorders, Inc., without treatment, up to 20% of people with serious eating disorders die. With treatment, 2 – 3% of people with anorexia die, demonstrating just how effective professional treatment can be. Statistics show that mortality rates from anorexia are the highest of any psychological disorder.

Anorexia statistics show that with treatment, only 60% make a full recovery in which they live a life free from any eating disorder related thoughts or behaviors. About 20% make a partial recovery, meaning that they may be able to hold a job and maintain some superficial relationships but remain very focused on food and weight. They may also remain underweight in the longer term which can give rise to other health complications. The final 20% stay dangerously underweight. They are seen frequently in emergency rooms, mental health clinics, inpatient hospital units, and eating disorder treatment programs.

People with anorexia can suffer a number of potentially fatal medical conditions, including heart disease, kidney and liver disease, and potassium and magnesium imbalances that can lead to heart failure. In addition, they often suffer from osteoporosis (thinning, brittle bones), low blood pressure, ulcers, dizziness and fainting, irregular heart rhythm, headaches, nausea, and a myriad of other physical problems. Anorexic statistics indicate that they also experience anxiety, depression, and other psychological problems as well.

Who Gets Anorexia?

It is difficult to get accurate statistics on anorexia because so many people try to hide their disorder. Anorexics often pretend to eat, wear bulky clothing to disguise how thin they really are, and deny many of the symptoms they experience. There is a lot of shame attached to the condition.

Anorexia statistics show that the disease mostly affects young women. Only about 10% of all sufferers are male.

Statistics on anorexia show that between 1 – 5% of all female adolescents and young women suffer from anorexia. The average age of onset is 17. It is rare, but not unheard of, for children under the age of 10 to have the condition. Older woman can have it as well, although it is usually diagnosed in the teens or twenties. Anorexic statistics show that it is very rarely diagnosed after the age of 40, however it is not unheard of and there are people that have a later onset of the disease.

Learn more about anorexia, the signs and symptoms, medical complications and the importance of treatment.

What About Treatment?

Only about 1 in 10 people with eating disorders receive treatment. Anorexia statistics show that 20% of people with anorexia who do not get treatment will die. About 80% of those who do get treatment don’t get enough of it; they receive some inpatient care, but are sent home before the recommended length of stay is up. There may be several reasons for this. Patients may leave against medical advice because they don’t think they need the treatment, or their health insurance coverage may refuse to pay for further treatment. Anorexia statistics show that inpatient treatment costs an average of $1000 per day, and the recommended length of stay is usually three to six months.

Related Anorexia Statistics

  • Anorexia is the third most common chronic illness among adolescents.
  • 40 – 60% of high school girls diet.
  • 50% of girls between the ages of 13 and 15 believe they are overweight.
  • 80% of 13 year old girls have dieted.
  • 40% of 9 year old girls dieted.

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If you have any questions on these statistics on anorexia, please do not hesitate to contact us. For more information on anorexiatreatment, and eating disorder denial, follow these links.

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Updated By Tabitha Farrar – 2014
Written By Kelly Morris – 2007


National Institute of Mental Health’s (NIMH) guide
Eating Disorders 101 Guide: A Summary of Issues, Statistics and Resources
Healthy Living and Healthy Weight. In Healthy Settings for Young People in Canada