Disordered eating may affect 10-15% of women: study

December 19th, 2009  |  Published in Stumpblog  |  5 Comments

Several maladaptive eating behaviors, beyond anorexia, can affect women. Indeed, some 10 to 15 percent of women have maladaptive eating behaviours and attitudes according to a new study published in the International Journal of Eating Disorders.

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I’d actually argue that “disordered eating” as a general category affects many more women than this. If we conceptualize DE as a spectrum that includes a variety of behaviours, not just extreme, extended restriction or purging, but also periodic purposeful overeating and/or restriction, food anxieties, avoidance behaviours, a morally-tinged “good and bad foods” mindset, guilt and distress associated with eating, focus on body weight as the primary outcome of eating (and focus on a very thin body weight as ideal), eating when not actually hungry and not stopping when satiety is achieved, etc. then I would argue that 90-95% of North American women fall into this group.


  1. Caly says:

    December 19th, 2009at 4:05 pm(#)

    Amen to that.

  2. ActionBabe says:

    December 19th, 2009at 8:41 pm(#)

    Here’s another study in the same journal that seems a little more along the lines of what you’re talking about:


    16% report dieting on less than 1,000 calories a day. Geez. How can we stop the madness ladies?

  3. john malpas says:

    December 21st, 2009at 11:44 pm(#)

    Surely the main problem is a mix of gluttony and idleness.
    Just look about you.

  4. Mistress Krista says:

    December 22nd, 2009at 6:21 am(#)

    John: Disordered eating is a very complex problem. Sure, gluttony and idleness have been part of the human condition forever, and arguably our current environment is conducive to it — BUT it’s a lot more complicated than that, and many people with disordered eating put a lot of effort into it. Plenty of people have rigidly and restrictively dieted and exercised themselves right into it. It’s not for lack of trying.

  5. Niel says:

    January 14th, 2010at 9:33 pm(#)

    There actually is a group called “eating disorders otherwise not specified” (EDNOS) that don’t meet the full criteria for anorexia nervosa or bulimia nervosa.

    My professor’s graduate student said 50-70% of eating disorders are EDNOS.

    That’s not the most shocking though. Other figures given to our class were unbelievable. One was, “the majority of girls who diet begin dieting before the age of 15.”

    I think you’re dead on Krista when you say it’s a very complex problem. Quite unfortunate.

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