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Eating Disorder Statistics in Canada

February 03, 2015

Can-Income-be-Too-High-to-Qualify-for-the-Disability-Tax-CreditDo you know that of all mental illnesses, eating disorders have the highest mortality rate?  Unfortunately, this is a true statement. What’s more, of people who have eating disorders, 10 to 20 percent eventually die from complications.

Here are other eating disorder statistics in Canada that you may not know: 

  • In 2002, of females (15-24 years old), 1.5 percent dealt with an eating disorder.
  • This same year, “Four percent of males in ninth and tenth grade reported anabolic steroid use.” This demonstrates how disordered body image touches not only women, but men also.
  • 0.3 percent of adolescent females have anorexia; 1 percent have bulimia.
  • Many girls as young as five are aware of dieting and weight-loss.
  • Almost 30 percent of young women in ninth and tenth grade diet.
  • Of ninth grade females, 37 percent “perceived themselves to be too fat.” The same is true of tenth grade girls, only in their case, 40 percent have the same perception.
  • “Anorexia nervosa has the highest mortality rate of any psychiatric illness — it is estimated that 10 percent of individuals with anorexia nervosa will die within 10 years of the onset of the disorder.”

These statistics are taken from a NEDIC fact sheet. To read more statistics about eating disorders in Canada, click here:

Why Are Eating Disorders Common?

A certain amount of responsibility lies on the media. The media constantly barrages us with images of the “perfect” body. And this distortion doesn’t just attack women; often, men become victims too. These unrealistic, unspoken expectations set forth by the media create fertile soil in which the seeds of disordered eating can grow.

All images aside, the media portrays diets as a normal, healthy part of life. As a result, “70 percent of women and 35 percent of men” are on a diet at this very moment. Diets also cultivate a lifestyle of disordered eating.

Additionally, various types of abuse, as well as atmospheres in which a person was raised can increase susceptibility to eating disorders. Why? Because abuse can create emotional problems that people attempt to fix with food. And if someone was raised in an atmosphere in which people routinely overate, the chances are great that that person will follow suit.

How Can A Person Tell If He Or She Has An Eating Disorder?

While only a health professional can diagnose an eating disorder, there are warning signs we can look for in ourselves. For example, “When someone has an eating disorder, their weight is the prime focus of their life.” This implies that eating disorders cause an obsession with food, body image, exercise, and calories.

Are you fully preoccupied with what you’re eating, when you’re exercising, what you weigh day-to-day, or the amount of calories you are consuming? Does weight and food claim the majority of your thoughts? If so, consider speaking to a health care professional about your struggles.

What Types Of Eating Disorders Are There?

After reading the statistics of eating disorders in Canada, you may be flooded with questions (like, what constitutes an eating disorder?). Eating disorders are mental health disorders. There are several different kinds of eating disorders, including bulimia nervosa, anorexia nervosa, and binge eating disorders. Symptoms of eating disorders include:

  • Mood is decided by the number on a scale
  • Obsession with caloric intake, weight, food, and body image
  • Secretive eating
  • “Lying about eating”
  • Feeling ashamed or guilty about eating

Do you recognize these symptoms in yourself? Have you ever wondered how you can free yourself from disordered eating? The first step is to reach out for help. Here are some resources you can connect with that may be able to help you break free:

Please feel free to share your victories and struggles concerning eating disorders. You can do so by leaving a comment on this post.

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