Eating disorders a growing problem in U.S.

The number of men and women hospitalized due to eating disorders that caused anemia, kidney failure, erratic heart rhythms or other problems rose 18 percent between 1999 and 2006, according to the latest News and Numbers from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.

The federal agency's analysis also found that between 1999 and 2006:

Hospitalizations for eating disorders rose most sharply for children under 12 years of age - 119 percent. The second steepest rise was for patients ages 45 to 64 - 48 percent.

Hospitalizations for men also increased sharply - by 37 percent - but women continued to dominate hospitalizations for eating disorders (89 percent in 2006).

Admissions for anorexia, the most common eating disorder, remained relatively stable. People with anorexia typically lose extreme amounts of weight by not eating enough food, over-exercising, self-inducing vomiting, or using laxatives.

In contrast, hospitalizations for bulimia declined 7 percent. Bulimia - binge eating followed by purging by vomiting or use of laxatives - can lead to severe dehydration or stomach and intestinal problems.

Hospitalizations for less common eating disorders increased 38 percent. Those disorders include pica, an obsession with eating non-edible substances such as clay or plaster, and psychogenic vomiting, which is vomiting caused by anxiety and stress.

This AHRQ News and Numbers is based on data in Hospitalizations for Eating Disorders from 1999 to 2006. The report uses statistics from the 2006 Nationwide Inpatient Sample, a database of hospital inpatient stays that is nationally representative of inpatient stays in all short-term, non-federal hospitals. The data are drawn from hospitals that comprise 90 percent of all discharges in the United States and include all patients, regardless of insurance type, as well as the uninsured.


  1. Sarah Takeuchi Sarah Takeuchi Japan says:

    Hello, I am a senior in high school studying in Japan. I am researching on the media effect on teenage body and read lots of articles about this topic. While I was gathering informations, I came up with questions that I couldn't find the answers to. So I was wondering if you have time, I wanted your opinion to my questions. If you have time please email me back and I will send you the questions. Thank you for your time.

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