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Last reviewed dd mmm yyyy. Last edited dd mmm yyyy

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Bulimia nervosa is far more common in females than men (1), and affects adolescents and young adults with an even social class distribution

This condition is a relatively recent phenomenon and has shown a marked increase in reported cases since the mid-1970's - it was only described as a specific disorder in about 1979.

Using figures for UK hospital admissions from 2012 to 2013, the eating disorders charity BEAT estimated that there were over 725,000 people with an eating disorder in the UK, approximately 90% of whom were female (1)

  • however, recent community-based epidemiological studies suggest that as many as 25% of people with an eating disorder are male
  • eating disorders most commonly start in adolescence, but can also start during childhood or adulthood
  • about 15% of people with an eating disorder have anorexia nervosa, which is also more common in younger people
  • most people with an eating disorder meet diagnostic criteria for bulimia nervosa, binge eating disorder, or other specified feeding and eating disorder (OSFED). Each disorder is associated with poor quality of life, social isolation, and a substantial impact for family members and carers
  • eating disorders are long lasting conditions if they are not treated


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