The global burden of eating disorders

Curr Opin Psychiatry. 2016 Nov;29(6):346-53. doi: 10.1097/YCO.0000000000000276.


Purpose of review: In 2015, the findings of the most recent Global Burden of Disease Study (GBD), GBD 2013, were published. Burden was quantified for two eating disorders: anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa.

Recent findings: In GBD 2013, burden was attributed to both anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa particularly in young females in high-income countries. As low- and middle-income countries continue to develop and undergo cultural change, the burden of anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa in these countries will potentially rise. However, eating disorders present unique challenges in regards to epidemiological data and burden quantification methodology which makes trends in burden difficult to determine.

Summary: This article presents the GBD 2013 burden findings for anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa and explores the methodology underpinning these estimates. Limitations of the available raw data and methodological challenges are discussed along with the real world implications of these findings and opportunities for the field.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Feeding and Eating Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Feeding and Eating Disorders / ethnology
  • Global Health
  • Humans