Skip to Content

Bulimia Nervosa Statistics

1046511_22231558 (800x723).jpg

The statistics for bulimia are shocking. Although this illness is often well hidden by those who suffer from it, the health consequences are serious and may be life threatening. The prevalence of bulimia, especially among young female women, is an indication of a society overly focused on weight and body image.

Young women

  • According to research, approximately 1.1 – 3.7 percent of all females suffer from bulimia nervosa in their lifetime.
  • Bulimia affects as many as 25 percent of college aged women in the US who use binging and purging as a means of weight control.
  • 5.1 percent of women who attend college struggle with bulimia.

Men and bulimia

  • Women are much more likely than men to develop an eating disorder. However, it is estimated that between 10 – 15 percent of people with bulimia are men.
  • Nearly 14 percent of gay men are coping with bulimia.
  • Men are less likely to seek treatment for an eating disorder such as bulimia, as it is perceived to be a “woman’s illness”.

Bulimia can also affect children.

As the average age of puberty has decreased, awareness of society’s preoccupation with dieting and slimness has increased.

  • It is estimated that the average age of bulimia onset among children is 9 – 12 years of age.

Eating disorders (including bulimia) have the highest rates of mortality of all mental illnesses.

  • According to a 2009 study published in the American Journal of Psychiatry, crude mortality rates for bulimia were 3.9 percent. Anyone suffering from this devastating condition is urged to seek counselling and get professional treatment.

Source of statistical information: National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders (ANAD).

Additional statistical information available from: and

Related Articles

Binge Eating Disorder Statistics