Sunday, May 20, 2012

Eating Disorder Statistics, and a documentary by Alyssa Crawford

So.  Full-disclosure here.  I had mixed feelings about posting the video.  I feel pretty vulnerable in doing so.  I'm speaking about something very personal in a way that I don't feel does the entire experience justice (but how could I in an 11 minute documentary?)  I have much to say.  I will be writing some up and coming things.  

I also wanted to hold off on this topic for a bit longer, because it's so heavy (no pun intended).  But as my friend Bridgette reminded me, "It's obviously in the blog's purview so much that it's exclusion would be noticeable."  

Many things that encourage and support eating disorders are felt and endured by all of us.  A "proper" eating disorder is defined as A potentially life-threatening neurotic condition such as anorexia nervosa or bulimia.  

Even if you've never had an eating disorder, I want you to feel a part of this conversation (and encouraged to submit articles, videos, artwork, personal stories, etc.) on this topic.  According to the statistics below, you will most likely know someone personally with an eating disorder if you have not yet already.  Start the conversation now.  Know how to talk about these things and how to offer and how to get help.  

Obviously prevention is best.  And I wonder if in learning to talk about this, and these things, if prevention might increase.

Eating disorder or not, we all need healing.  

And here is my final hesitation in posting the video.  Ironically enough, watching it, I missed the message the first time through, and all I could think was "Dana, would it have killed you to put on some make up or brush your hair?  Why did you insist on that ugly green color.  Have you gained weight?  Get your hands out of your face!"


Easy girl.  

Friends, I'm so tragically human.  Forgive me for those initial feelings.  

I want to tell you what came afterwards and why I am posting this.  The message is important.  The conversations the message could inspire are even more important.  And that is what I look like.  That is what Dana, a college-graduate, returned-missionary, marathon-woman, Divine-Comedian, 2010 Birch Creek Service Ranch Palisade Lake Women's Division Dock Wrestling Champion (okay, so I just had to beat the lifeguard), nature-enthusiast, recovered-bulimic, woman who loves (most of the time) and enjoys her strong body looks like.  

Enjoy.  Start thinking.  I want to hear your stories.  

P.S. here are some statistics from the South Carolina Department of Mental Health

  • It is estimated that 8 million Americans have an eating disorder – seven million women and one million men
  • One in 200 American women suffers from anorexia
  • Two to three in 100 American women suffers from bulimia
  • Nearly half of all Americans personally know someone with an eating disorder (Note: One in five Americans suffers from mental illnesses.)
  • An estimated 10 – 15% of people with anorexia or bulimia are males
  • Eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of any mental illness
  • A study by the National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders reported that 5 – 10% of anorexics die within 10 years after contracting the disease; 18-20% of anorexics will be dead after 20 years and only 30 – 40% ever fully recover
  • The mortality rate associated with anorexia nervosa is 12 times higher than the death rate of ALL causes of death for females 15 – 24 years old.
  • 20% of people suffering from anorexia will prematurely die from complications related to their eating disorder, including suicide and heart problems
  • Only 1 in 10 people with eating disorders receive treatment
  • About 80% of the girls/women who have accessed care for their eating disorders do not get the intensity of treatment they need to stay in recovery – they are often sent home weeks earlier than the recommended stay
  • Treatment of an eating disorder in the US ranges from $500 per day to $2,000 per day. The average cost for a month of inpatient treatment is $30,000. It is estimated that individuals with eating disorders need anywhere from 3 – 6 months of inpatient care. Health insurance companies for several reasons do not typically cover the cost of treating eating disorders
  • The cost of outpatient treatment, including therapy and medical monitoring, can extend to $100,000 or more
  • Anorexia is the 3rd most common chronic illness among adolescents
  • 95% of those who have eating disorders are between the ages of 12 and 25
  • 50% of girls between the ages of 11 and 13 see themselves as overweight
  • 80% of 13-year-olds have attempted to lose weight
  • Rates of minorities with eating disorders are similar to those of white women
  • 74% of American Indian girls reported dieting and purging with diet pills
  • Essence magazine, in 1994, reported that 53.5% of their respondents, African-American females were at risk of an eating disorder
  • Eating disorders are one of the most common psychological problems facing young women in Japan.


  1. Thank you for this, Dana. Loved the documentary. It is tragic that girls are dying of eating disorders... it is completely preventable. What a tragedy.

  2. AmazIng Dana! I just commented on the You Tube page too, but I'll say it again here- you are so courageous for doing this, and it's awesome- it's part of the reason people love you, because you aren't afraid to be your authentic self. Such a great video!

  3. Thank you Dana. I have always seen you as a strong and amazing women, and this post and video only enlarged those feelings. Thank you for being brave enough to step so far out of your comfort zone in order to lift and strengthen others.

  4. Dana,
    You have ALWAYS been amazing, but there are moments when I am so profoundly impressed with your fortitude and bravery. Keep on keeping on! Remember the words of President Monson, "you are never alone when you stand with your Father in Heaven". Love to you!

  5. This is an amazing video, it's heart wrenching but still very inspirational. Eating disorders in this country are getting worse with no ceiling. They're not just affecting girls any more but young boys and even younger girls. The pressure to be the ideal size for everyone else yet at the same time live in a society where less is more and we are surrounded with horrible food choices and no education is a vicious cycle. And the mount of disorders is getting even worse, there is now light being put on eatin disorder where girls who drink their calories in alcohol because they don't want to eat before and go above their calories when they drink later, also people who binge and spends hours in the gym trying to burn it off, obviously the latter of the two seems less harmful but people are causing hyper tension and injuries due to the over work outs. Dana I applaud you for this blog it is issues that really need to be addressed.