The prevalence of eating disorders not otherwise specified

Int J Eat Disord. 2007 Apr;40(3):212-7. doi: 10.1002/eat.20358.


Objective: Eating Disorders Not Otherwise Specified (EDNOS) represent the most common eating disorder diagnosed in specialized treatment settings. The purpose of the current study is to assess the prevalence of EDNOS in a nationwide community sample.

Method: Participants were 2,028 female students, aged 12-23, attending public schools in the 9th to 12th grades in Portugal. Participants completed the Eating Disorder Examination Questionnaire in Stage 1 of the study. In Stage 2, we selected all the participants who met any of these criteria: (1) BMI < or =17.5, (2) scores > or =4 on any of the four EDE-Q Subscales, (3) a total EDE-Q score > or =4, or (4) the presence of dysfunctional eating behaviors. In Stage 2, eating disorder experts interviewed 901 participants using the Eating Disorder Examination.

Results: The prevalence of all eating disorders was 3.06% among young females. Prevalence for anorexia nervosa was 0.39%, for bulimia nervosa 0.30%, EDNOS 2.37%.

Conclusion: EDNOS is a very common eating disorder and accounts for three-quarters of all community cases with eating disorders.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Child
  • Feeding and Eating Disorders / diagnosis
  • Feeding and Eating Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Portugal / epidemiology
  • Prevalence
  • Students
  • Surveys and Questionnaires