Thursday, August 21, 2008

Sobering Statistics

A recent story from the News Observer had these startling statistics to remind everyone why early treatment of eating disorders is essential:
  • 20 percent of adults overcome their eating disorder, compared with an 80 percent recovery rate among adolescents.
Given that most eating disorders start in adolescence (most estimates range from 13-18 as the peak years of onset, with bulimia generally beginning at a later age than anorexia), most adults have been suffering for years, if not decades. The disease at this point has become entrenched, a part of the sufferer's life.

There are also no researched, effective treatments for adults, in part due to the chronicity, as well as the difficulties in compelling a loved one into treatment for long enough to reach a stable, healthy weight.

In the book "Hunger: An Unnatural History," a famine relief worker said that malnutrition in children is always easier to treat than in adults. Part of it is, he says, the greater resilience of young bodies. But the other part is the simple power of a mother urging her child to eat.

Other statistics from the story:
  • 80 percent of eating disorders start out as diets.
  • Ten million women in the U.S. have an eating disorder, according to the National Eating Disorders Association.
  • 79 percent of deaths from anorexia occur in people who are over the age of 45.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thank you for calling to attention the hidden epidemic of eating disorders in adults. It is definitely an issue that is often over looked. Dr. Trisha Gura, author of Lying in Weight: The Hidden Epidemic of Eating Disorders in Adult Women, will be speaking at a symposium hosted by the Center for Eating Disorders at Sheppard Pratt on October 5th. You can read more about her and eating disorders in adults here: