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Ten Things About Eating Disorders You May Not Know

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As with other psychiatric diagnoses, misinformation and stigma persists around eating disorders.

These eye-opening facts do not convey the difficulties individuals with ED symptoms experience, but can dispel falsehoods about the diagnoses and facilitate understanding.

  1. Alcohol and substance problems are four times greater in people with eating disorders than in the general population.
  2. In every decade since 1930, there has been an increase in the incidence of anorexia in women aged 15 to 19.
  3. About 7 percent of the adult population in the U.S. has symptoms of an eating disorder. To give this some perspective, about 9.9 percent of the same population has type 2 diabetes.
  4. Eating disorders are not adolescent diseases. One research study found that in the past five years, 13 percent of women over 50 had symptoms of an eating disorder – 70 percent indicated symptoms are owed to attempting weight loss.
  5. Eating disorders are not a white female problem. In the U.S., the incidence of eating disorders is similar in Hispanic, non-Hispanic White, Asian American and African American populations.
  6. The NIH states that eating disorders are six times more prevalent than Alzheimer’s disease. However, for each $88 spent on Alzheimer researcher, only $0.93 is spent researching eating disorders.
  7. Studies indicate the incidence of new eating disorder cases has been on the rise since 1950.
  8. From 1988 to 1993, the rate of bulimia tripled in women aged 10 to 39.
  9. Of all psychiatric illnesses, the highest mortality rate belongs to eating disorders.
  10. It is likely an increasing number of men will experience symptoms of an eating disorder.

Source: Food and Nutrition
Photo credit: I .. C .. U / flickr creative commons