THE PREVALENCE OF EATING DISORDERS

In the United States, conservative estimates indicate that after puberty, 5-10% of girls and women (that translates to 5-10 MILLION girls and women) and 1 MILLIONboys and men are struggling with eating disorders including anorexia, bulimia, binge eating disorder, or borderline conditions (Crowther et. al., 1995.)At least50,000 individuals will die as a direct result of their eating disorder. Because of the secretiveness and shame associated with eating disorders, many cases are probably not reported. In addition, many individuals struggle with body dissatisfaction and sub-clinical eating disorder attitudes and behaviors. For example, 80% of American women are dissatisfied with their appearance (Smolak, 1996).

THE DRIVE FOR THINNESS

42% of 1st-3rd grade girls want to be thinner (Collins, 1991).

81% of 10 year olds are afraid of being fat (Mellin et al., 1991).

The average American woman is 5’4″ tall and weighs 140 pounds. The average American model is 5’11” tall and weighs 117 pounds. Most fashion models are thinner than 98% of American women (Smolak, 1996).

DIETING

51% of 9 and 10 year old girl feel better about themselves if they are on a diet (Mellin et al., 1991).

46% of 9-11 year olds are “sometimes” or “very often” on diets, and 82% of their families are “sometimes” or “very often” on diets (Gustafson-Larson & Terry, 1992).

91% of women recently surveyed on a college campus had attempted to control their weight through dieting,22% dieted “often” or “always” (Kurth et al., 1995).

95% of all dieters will regain their lost weight in 1-5 years (Grodstein, 1996).

35% of “normal dieters” progress to pathological dieting. Of those, 20-25% progress to partial or full-syndrome eating disorders. (Shisslak & Crago, 1995).

25% of Americans men and 45% of American women are on a diet on any given day (Smolak, 1996).

Americans spend over $50 billion on dieting and diet-related products each year (Maine, 2000).