Economic costs (2019 US dollars) of eating disorders by age group and gender. Credit: J Streatfeild et al., International Journal of Eating Disorders (2021)

The impact of eating disorders in the United States was nearly $400 billion in 2018-19 when considering both economic costs and reduced wellbeing, according to a study published in the International Journal of Eating Disorders.

Investigators estimated that the total economic cost associated with eating disorders in 2018-19 was $64.7billion, equivalent to $11,808 per affected person, and the substantial reduction in wellbeing associated with eating disorders was valued at $326.5 billion.

"Our study lays bare the devastating economic impact that eating disorders have in the United States, a country where the majority of people affected suffer alone and never receive appropriate treatment because of barriers to healthcare and lack of training for ," said co-author S. Bryn Austin, ScD, director of STRIPED (Strategic Training Initiative for the Prevention of Eating Disorders) and a professor at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and Boston Children's Hospital. "With our study, we now have the critical data we need to begin to estimate the , improved quality of life, and, most importantly, lives to be saved by scaling up effective prevention, early detection, and treatment interventions for eating disorders."

More information: Jared Streatfeild et al, Social and economic cost of eating disorders in the United States: Evidence to inform policy action, International Journal of Eating Disorders (2021). DOI: 10.1002/eat.23486

Journal information: International Journal of Eating Disorders

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