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Bulimia Facts And Statistics


Bulimia nervosa (BN) is an eating disorder that is characterized by cycles of binging and purging. Many who live with this find themselves caught in these cycles, and it can become difficult to break away from them on one’s own. While there is a decent amount of awareness, many still live with bulimia in silence. That is why Banyan Treatment Centers Philadelphia is looking at bulimia facts and statistics to keep in mind and why having it addressed professionally is so important.

Bulimia Nervosa Facts

Individuals with bulimia nervosa will find themselves stuck with the need to self-induced purging after binge eating. Binge eating refers to the consumption of a large amount of food in one sitting. Purging is the act of expelling the food they just ate, either through self-induced vomiting or the usage of laxatives. The onset of BN is typically slightly younger than that of binge eating disorder, or BED. On average, youth begin to show signs when they are between the ages of 11 and 13.1

Other facts about bulimia include:

  • It could be genetic: Although there is still research to be done, some scientists believe that children of parents who have lived with a similar eating disorder may be prone to developing a disorder of their own.
  • Individuals with bulimia nervosa can have a regular body weight: While eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa can result in a severe calorie deficit, those who experience binge eating episodes are likely to maintain a fairly regular weight.
  • It can lead to serious health concerns: Aside from weight loss, the individual may also experience symptoms like anemia, irregular heart rates, dehydration, kidney failure, irregular menstrual cycles, tooth decay caused by frequent vomiting, and more.
  • Bulimia stems from compulsive habits: These individuals may exercise compulsively. Also, the process of self-induced purging after a binge-eating episode is in and of itself a compulsive habit. These individuals feel it necessary to do this even when it causes them distress.
  • It is a mental health disorder: A person’s behavior and actions are directly affected by bulimia. Many of these individuals may also be living with depression and can experience feelings of guilt for their compulsive behaviors.

Bulimia Nervosa Statistics

Studies have found that 1% to 1.5% of adults live with BN, while that number is about 0.1% to 2% in younger individuals.1 It is also worth keeping in mind that these percentages were isolated from following the strict guidelines of the DSM. When community studies were conducted, which focused more on evaluating disorder eating behaviors, it was revealed that roughly 14% to 22% showed signs of bulimia nervosa.1 Of teenagers with BN, 41.3% reported to have purged, while the remaining percentage followed their binge-eating episode with excessive exercising and prolonged fasting.1

The previous bulimia facts and statistics highlight why our Philadelphia eating disorder clinic does this work. No matter the age of an individual with bulimia nervosa, they should never feel shame in seeking treatment. Clients can access a wide range of effective therapy programs to help them address what they are living with. Our Banyan eating disorder program, Nourish in Recovery, provides specialized treatment to individuals living with BN, giving them a real chance at recovery.

To learn more about Philadelphia eating disorder treatment options, call Banyan and Nourish in Recovery at 888-280-4763 today.


  1. NIH - Bulimia nervosa in adolescents: prevalence and treatment challenges

Related Reading

Link Between Substance Abuse and Eating Disorders

Bulimia Relapse: Causes and Signs to Look Out For

Alyssa, Director of Digital Marketing
Alyssa, Director of Digital Marketing
Alyssa is the National Director of Digital Marketing and is responsible for a multitude of integrated campaigns and events in the behavioral health and addictions field. All articles have been written by Alyssa and medically reviewed by our Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Darrin Mangiacarne.