Bulimia statistics

While statistics show that certain types of people are more likely to suffer from bulimia, it is important to remember that absolutely anyone can develop bulimia at any point in their life.

Like all other eating disorders, bulimia does NOT discriminate against gender, age, religion, ethnicity, nationality, sexuality or level of intelligence.

Worryingly statistics have shown that new cases of bulimia appear to be increasing rapidly, especially when compared to the incident of anorexia which seems to have remained fairly constant over time. Let’s take a look at some of the main bulimia statistics.

Bulimia Statistics

  • Bulimia is usually found among white Caucasians, however this is changing.
  • 95% to 98% of people with bulimia tend to be female.
  • 64% are near a normal weight range.
  • 84% have some form of College Education.
  • An average binge is said to happen around 11 times a week.
  • Bulimia is more likely to begin in teenagers.
  • It is thought that the number of woman suffering from bulimia tripled between 1988 and 1993.
  • Children as young as 6 years have been known to develop bulimia although it is rare in people under the age of 13.
  • More than one in three “normal dieters” progress to severe dieting. Frequent dieters are 18x more likely to develop an eating disorder.
  • The amount of men with bulimia has increased dramatically in the past ten years.
  • Although bulimia can be very harmful many people do go on to achieve full, life-long recovery.
  • Conservative figures show that 150,000 women die each year from “dieting related causes”.
  • The average fashion model is 5’9″ to 6′ tall. The average American woman is 5′ 4″ tall.
  • The average fashion model weighs 110-118 pounds. The average American woman weighs 142 pounds.

Most statistics relating to bulimia continually indicate that the highest rate is found among young women who are aged between 12 to 25 years and who live in the Western society, where ‘dieting’ is common.

Statistics on bulimia and diets

One study showed that 44% of middle school girls who frequently read articles about dieting were twice as likely to try fasting and dieting and were 3x more likely to try self-induced vomiting than girls who didn’t read the articles.

Frequent dieters are 18x more likely to develop an Eating Disorder

Research shows that people who diet frequently are five times more likely to develop an eating disorder then those who don’t diet, however those who dieted frequently were eighteen times more likely to develop an eating disorder than those who did not diet.

The same study also showed that children are more likely to develop an eating disorder if they have a sister or mother who dieted.

It has also been scientifically shown that students who entered the USA from another culture are more likely to suffer bulimia if they absorb western views on diet and beauty.

Statistics and research studies have also helped to shed light on:

The links between Bingeing and dieting

The links between bingeing and dieting have been known for some time now. When people diet and ignore hunger signals their bodies kick off a primitive and complex survival mechanism that helps keep them alive.

This includes food obsession, powerful cravings for calorie dense foods, food hording and extended taste response. All of which can of course lead to bingeing.

Research has shown that girls who diet frequently are twelve times more likely to binge than girls who don’t diet at all.

5 Interesting facts about bulimia…

bulimia facts

1. About 10% of people who are diagnosed with bulimia are men – although in reality the number of men who suffer with bulimia is probably substantially higher.

2. Learning how to eat again can be the key to recovery – Most people find that by restoring adequate levels of nutrition they are able to significantly reduce, and in a lot of cases COMPLETELY ELIMINATE the psychological symptoms and side effects of bulimia.

3. Not everyone needs therapy to recover! You don’t have to spend a lot of time in therapy or even understand any external factors that contributed to the onset of your bulimia to be able to cure it! I recovered from an almost 11 year battle with bulimia and I’ve never had therapy!

4. Bulimia is not as related to weight as you might think – Bulimics are very different from anorexics because although they can be underweight they are usually average or above average weight – This fact is sometimes shocking for suffers and non-suffers alike.

5. Anyone can recover –  It is possible to fully recover from bulimia, no matter how long you have suffered for.

Check out these great recovery-orientated Bulimia Nervosa Facts…

  • Many people who recover from bulimia say they go on to create lives for themselves that they never knew would be possible.
  • Lots of people recover from bulimia without gaining any weight.
  • At Binge code we’ve seen people recover from bulimia who have suffered for over 20 years.
  • Bulimia recovery also helps people to overcome depression, anxiety and other mental health issues.

How common is bulimia?

  • Research suggests that in Western countries like the UK and US, between 1-2 in every 200 people have bulimia.
  • Further studies suggest that 2-3 in 100 American women suffers from bulimia and show that that nearly half of all Americans personally know someone with an eating disorder.
  • Most studies suggest that women are ten times more likely to suffer from bulimia than men are, although this suggestion could be due to the fact that men are less willing to seek help for bulimia.

What is the bulimia recovery rate?

This is a difficult question to answer and everywhere you look you will see a different answer. It‘s difficult to come up with a conclusive figure.

Some studies have suggested that between 60% and 80% of bulimic patients are in remission within three months of treatment, however findings like this can be flawed because they do not account for long term recovery rates.

One thing we do know is that currently the most successful bulimia treatment facility in the world (mandometer) say:

  • 75% of the patients go into full remission; they are free from all symptoms of an eating disorder
  • 90% of those individuals who go into remission do not relapse over the next five years

This is really excellent news and what’s even better for members of Bulimia Help is the fact that we rely on many of the same basic recovery principles that mandometer do because we both believe in order to recover from bulimia you must learn how to eat again and how to recognise hunger and satiety.

The limitations of bulimia statistics

Statistics are very useful. They can help us to explore patterns in the development of bulimia as well as helping us to get a better understanding of the factors that can contribute to its onset.

However we must remember that even statistics have their limitations.

Sometimes when health authorities calculate bulimia statistics they only include certain groups of people. For example their figures may only include people who have received in-patient care for their bulimia or perhaps only people who have recently developed bulimia.

This means that data is often conflicted and confusing.

Another massive limitation in regards to bulimia statistics is that they only highlight “known suffers”.

This means that those people who don’t seek help for their bulimia won’t be included in any of the statistics at all.

So it is always important to consider how accurate statistics are in relation to the realities of bulimia. While there is still stigma and shame attached to having bulimia we may never fully understand its true extent.


What's your goal today?

Download our FREE Toolkit and discover a simple step-by-step methodology for overcoming binge eating and bulimia. 

Our toolkit is packed full of helpful strategies, insights and helpful audios to help you get started towards recovery. 

It’s yours for FREE when you subscribe to our recovery newsletter.

Since 2009 our team of dedicated Recovery Coaches have been coaching clients to binge eating and bulimia recovery.

With your own personal recovery coach, you’ll receive ongoing support and guidance throughout your journey to recovery. 

We understand the challenges you face because our coaches have personally experienced their own journeys through ED recovery. 

Get the training, tools and confidence to coach clients to binge eating recovery.

Transform lives doing what you love, build a successful business helping others, feel valued and know what you do really matters!

Join the free waitlist at no obligation. You’ll learn more about the program, access our biggest savings and get priority enrollment.