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There are no reliable figures on the incidence of anorexia/bulimia eating-disorders, and the mortality figures are sketchy at best, but 20% of people suffering from anorexia will prematurely die from complications related to their eating disorder, including suicide and heart problems. (Source: The Renfrew Center Foundation for Eating Disorders, “Eating Disorders 101 Guide: A Summary of Issues, Statistics and Resources,” published September 2002, revised October 2003) Eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of any mental illness. (Source: American Journal of Psychiatry, Vol. 152 -- 7, July 1995, p. 1073-1074, Sullivan, Patrick F.)
However, estimates (for anorexia and bulimia) range from 0.4 to 1.0 percent of women in the U.S. in 1985. And some researchers believe that up to 50 percent of college women have suffered bulimia; others dispute this, arguing that most incidents of binge eating cannot be diagnosed as true bulimia. The National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Related Disorders said in 1985 that there are millions of Anorexia Nervosa sufferers and their mortality rate is 6 percent.
ANRED President, Dr. Jean Rubel, blames the American thinness cult for the exacerbation of the anorexia nervosa problem
In 2002, an estimated 0.5 to 3.7 percent of women suffer from anorexia nervosa in their lifetime. (Source: The National Institute of Mental Health: “Eating Disorders: Facts About Eating Disorders and the Search for Solutions.” Pub No. 01-4901) Research suggests that about 1 percent of female adolescents have anorexia in 2002. (Source: Anorexia Nervosa and Related Eating Disorders, Inc. website)
According to US News Health: (Source: http://health.usnews.com/health-conditions/mental-health/eating-disorders/overview)
- Among western women between 15 and 24 years old, approximately 1 out of every 200 suffers from anorexia nervosa, while about 1 in 50 is bulimic.
- Between 10 and 50 percent of American college women report having binge eaten and then vomited to control their weight.
- Approximately 40 percent of American girls ages 9 and 10 report being or having been on a diet to lose weight.
- Some 50 to 60 percent of teenage American girls believe they are overweight, yet only 15 to 20 percent of them actually are overweight.
(Source: http://www.state.sc.us/dmh/anorexia/statistics.htm Eating Disorder Statistics)
ANRED, Inc. (Anorexia Nervosa & Related Eating Disorders) estimates up to 20 percent of women between 12 and 30 have one of the disorders (while only 5 to 10 percent of all eating-disordered persons are male). They give the mortality rate as "up to 15 percent." ANRED President, Dr. Jean Rubel, points out that these disorders were practically unknown in the 1950s and earlier, when models and movie stars were more full-figured—she blames the American thinness cult for the exacerbation of the problem. (Source: Rubel, J.B., "Anorexia Nervosa and Bulimia," ANRED Pamphlet, 1985, revised February 1986) Surveys of teenage and preteen girls confirm this, since female bodies in magazine ads, movies, and movie stars are usually skinny and/or anorexic looking, and the girls confirmed that this is where their body role models came from. (Source: Lopez-Guimera, G., Levine, M., Sanchez-carracedo, D., & J, F. ,2010. Influence of mass media on body image and eating disordered attitudes and behaviors in females: A review of effects and processes. 387-416)
Surveys are great marketing, sociological, and demographic research tools
Anorexia nervosa is also partly caused by the personality traits of perfectionism and obsessive compulsive tendencies
Although anorexia nervosa has many similarities with Bulimia nervosa, a critical difference between the two is that anorexia nervosa is also partly caused by the personality traits of perfectionism and obsessive compulsive tendencies. Whereas the main reason motivating people with bulimia nervosa tends to be self-perceived body image, people affected with anorexia nervosa are also driven to diet based on their desperate need to retain some control in their lives. For many, monitoring their food intake is the only control they can have. (Source: Yager and Anderson, "Anorexia Nervosa", The New England Journal of Medicine, Nov 29th, 2012)