There is a major need for bulimia treatment and education in the United States — conservative statistics cite that approximately 150,000 women die each year from diet-related conditions.

This number can come as a shock. Few people realize how many people they know are struggling with the disorder, however, 64 percent of those living with bulimia fall into a normal weight range so it is an easy mental health disorder to keep hidden from others.

We live in a media-driven culture where the average model ranges from 5’9” to 6’ in height and 110 to 118 pounds in weight compared to the average American woman who measures 5’4” tall and 142 pounds. It is no wonder a false sense of “normal” has been created. We are bombarded with unrealistic body images every day, so it is not surprising that self-conscious teens are the ones most likely to develop bulimia as they attempt to meet these unrealistic standards. The incidence of the onset of bulimia is at its highest in the late teen and early adulthood years.  In fact, three percent of women suffer from eating disorders, and six percent of teen girls engage in unhealthy food-related behavior.

In recent years, a frightening new pattern has occurred, as children as young as five years old have been reported to have bulimia. The occurrence of bulimia is happening in younger and younger age groups, and eating disorders have the highest death rates of any mental illness. On average, patients living with bulimia binge eat 11 times a week, causing devastating health and emotional consequences. These facts all point to the increased need for education and treatment for those struggling with bulimic behavior.

Bulimic Behavior Statistics: Risk Factors

No one is safe from the potential development of an eating disorder such as bulimia. The behavior associated with bulimia affects all ages, both men and women, and individuals of all races. However, certain groups do have a higher prevalence of bulimia when compared to the rest of the population.

Bulimia has been diagnosed in children as young as kindergarten age and is rising in the elderly population due to the fact that many patients do not receive a diagnosis or treatment earlier in life. Nevertheless, 95 percent of those with bulimia range in age from 12 to 25, and 90 percent are female. In a recent survey of sixth-grade girls, almost three-quarters stated that they first started worrying about their weight between the ages of nine and 11 years old. Another study found that 44 percent of junior high girls who read magazines about dieting were twice as likely to develop anorexic behavior and three times as likely to experiment with self-induced vomiting.

Dieting is a definite risk factor for the development of bulimia as well. Those who diet regularly are 18 times more likely to develop an eating disorder than those who do not. In addition, bulimia develops 12 times more often in young girls who diet repeatedly. Furthermore, kids who have a family member who diets frequently are more likely to develop bulimia and other unhealthy behavior related to food.

Many people believe that Caucasians are the only ethnic group that has an issue with bulimia. Current research shows this to be a false stereotype. The proportion of minorities with bulimia and other disordered eating habits are similar to those of the white population. Students who enter America from other countries are more likely to develop bulimia if they adopt Western ideas about diet and beauty. Also, it has been reported that 74 percent of American Indian women have reported dieting and purging at some time in their life. The United States is not the only place in the world bulimia has become a major health concern. In fact, in Japan, eating disorders are the leading mental disorder confronting women today.

Finding Quality Treatment

Statistics from the National Eating Disorder Association estimate that more than 10 million Americans suffer from eating disorders and only 10 percent of them seek treatment. That means there are approximately nine million people suffering in silence with disordered eating behavior such as bulimia. This does not have to be the reality. There is no shame in seeking treatment for bulimia and there are a variety of high-caliber treatment centers throughout the country that can provide effective bulimia treatment.
If you or someone you care about is one of the nine million people living in fear or shame due to bulimia, please call us today. We can be your partner in finding a quality mental health treatment program that fits your needs. All the information you share with us is confidential. We can answer any questions you may have or provide you with referrals to top-rated bulimia treatment centers in your area. Don’t hesitate. Let us help you today.