Eating disorders in dancers are thought to be common, but the exact rates remain to be clarified. The aim of this study is to systematically compile and analyse the rates of eating disorders in dancers. A literature search, appraisal and meta-analysis were conducted. Thirty-three relevant studies were published between 1966 and 2013 with sufficient data for extraction. Primary data were extracted as raw numbers or confidence intervals. Risk ratios and 95% confidence intervals were calculated for controlled studies. The overall prevalence of eating disorders was 12.0% (16.4% for ballet dancers), 2.0% (4% for ballet dancers) for anorexia, 4.4% (2% for ballet dancers) for bulimia and 9.5% (14.9% for ballet dancers) for eating disorders not otherwise specified (EDNOS). The dancer group had higher mean scores on the EAT-26 and the Eating Disorder Inventory subscales. Dancers, in general, had a higher risk of suffering from eating disorders in general, anorexia nervosa and EDNOS, but no higher risk of suffering from bulimia nervosa. The study concluded that as dancers had a three times higher risk of suffering from eating disorders, particularly anorexia nervosa and EDNOS, specifically designed services for this population should be considered.
Keywords: EDNOS; anorexia; ballet; bulimia; dance; eating disorders; epidemiology; meta-analysis; review.
Copyright © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd and Eating Disorders Association.