The last seven years have seen an increase in Americans hospitalized for eating disorders by 18%. These numbers include both men and women.
While women remain the dominant sex with these disorders (about 90% of people with eating disorders are women), the rise of male hospitalizations have increased by 37%.
What is probably most disturbing is who is being hospitalized. It used to be that eating disorders were considered the disease of those aged 13 to 30 and that is no longer the case.
The group that has seen the most dramatic increase are children under the age of 12 - this increase is a stunning 119%.
What is also a surprise to many is that the next group seeing a huge increase (of 48%) of people between the ages of 45 and 64.
Anorexia Nervosa is still the leading eating disorder, while cases of bulimia are down by about 7%.
More unusual disorders like eating inedible substances (pica) like ashes or dirt, as well as a disorder where acute worry or stress causes a person to vomit frequently are up by nearly 40%.
This information poses a question - are more people suffering from eating disorders nowadays or are they recognized as needing help more thus hospitalized more often?
I also wonder why, if deliberately eating fewer than 800 calories a day is classed as an eating disorder, why is deliberately eating 5,000 or 6,00 calories a day not? I'm not sure why one is classed as a disorder, and the other is not, since both under and over-eating are mostly psychological in nature. If anyone has thoughts on that, I'd love to hear.
Have you (or someone you know) experienced an eating disorder? Do you have a story to tell?