A disturbing new report has found that almost one million Australians are currently suffering from an eating disorder.
The Deloitte Access Economics report, commissioned by the non-profit Butterfly Foundation for Eating Disorders, looked at the economic and social impact of eating disorders including anorexia, bulimia, obesity and binge-eating.
AdvertisementThe study found that 913,000 people are living with an eating disorder - nearly two-thirds of them women. Dr Vivienne Lewis of University of Canberra and eating disorder specialist says the stereotyped view of eating disorders only affecting women and adolescents no longer holds true.
"We often think of eating disorders as only occurring in adolescents or only occurring in females, and that's certainly not the case.
This study actually looked at all ages and all genders, and certainly with the diagnosis of 'eating disorder not otherwise specified', that's when most males fit into that category - and people with binge eating disorder as well.
So we're seeing a wider spectrum of eating disorder. It's not just your emaciated adolescent, it is looking at men and people who might be overweight and obese who have an eating disorder as well," the specialist said.
The report also states that five of the top 10 anorexia hotspots are in Victoria, two in Queensland and one each in the Australian Capital Territory, New South Wales and Western Australia.
The report found that mortality rates for people with eating disorders are twice that of the general population. It says more than 1,800 people have died from eating disorders this year - a figure higher than last year's annual road toll.