Eating disorders: What age at onset?

Psychiatry Res. 2016 Apr 30:238:225-227. doi: 10.1016/j.psychres.2016.02.048. Epub 2016 Feb 22.


Age at onset (AAO) of eating disorders has classically been described in adolescence. We analyzed data from 806 subjects with anorexia nervosa (AN) or bulimia nervosa (BN) and performed a normal distribution admixture analysis to determine their AAO. No significant differences were found concerning the AAO functions of AN and BN subjects. Both groups had a mean AAO of about 18 years. Most of the subjects with AN (75.3%) and BN (83.3%) belonged to the early onset group. The definition of AAO for ED may be crucial for planning treatment modalities, with specific consideration of their clinical history and course.

Keywords: Age at onset; Eating disorders; Prognosis.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age of Onset
  • Anorexia Nervosa / diagnosis*
  • Anorexia Nervosa / epidemiology*
  • Anorexia Nervosa / therapy
  • Bulimia Nervosa / diagnosis*
  • Bulimia Nervosa / epidemiology*
  • Bulimia Nervosa / therapy
  • Feeding and Eating Disorders / diagnosis
  • Feeding and Eating Disorders / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Young Adult