10 Important Facts About Eating Disorders in Canada

Are eating disorders a significant health problem in Canada? Eating disorders affect more Canadians than you think. According to National Eating Disorder Information Centre (NEDIC) one million people are diagnosed with an eating disorder at any given time. Yet, a study recently conducted by NEDIC revealed that one in two people know someone, including themselves, who has or had an eating disorder. There is a huge gap between what people THINK eating disorders are and what they actually are.

Certainly more research is still needed on eating disorders to have a better understanding of how to treat them. Nonetheless, some studies have allowed us to identify several factors that can contribute to the development of eating disorders and the severity of them.

What are eating disorders?  How serious is this mental illness in North America? Here are ten quick and important facts about eating disorders in North America that will help you understand how critical they REALLY are:

  1. Eating Disorders are NOT caused by mass media’s obsession with slimness. They are mental illnesses that can be traced back to genetics, biology and environmental factors.
  2. Eating disorders are not a female-only problem. Men develop eating disorders too. According to the American Journal of Psychiatry on the Review of Bulimia Nervosa, 10-15% of males suffer from eating disorders.
  3. Eating disorders are often accompanied by substance abuse or other psychiatric disorders such as depression.
  4. People with bulimia nervosa are more likely to have experienced childhood physical or sexual abuse.
  5. Binge eating disorder affects more women and men than anorexia and bulimia combined.
  6. Both male and female athletes are at higher risk of developing an eating disorder than non-athletes.
  7. The number of girls hospitalized for eating disorder treatment has increased by 42% in the past two years and our Canadian system CAN’T KEEP UP!
  8. Without the appropriate treatment, eating disorders can be fatal. In fact, Anorexia Nervosa is the most deadly mental illness in existence.
  9. Early intervention saves lives. The sooner a person with an eating disorder receives treatment, the better chance they have at physical and emotional recovery.
  10. There is not enough research, appropriate resources, access and availability to treatment programs available in Canada to help more Canadians recover from an eating disorder.

Eating disorder treatment and support is scarce in Canada. The WaterStone Clinic for eating disorders is a premier eating disorder clinic that offers treatment programs for anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa and binge eating disorder. WaterStone Clinic offers a unique blend of therapeutic approaches, skill development and life coaching. To learn more about our programs, contact us via email or give us a call 416-495-0926. Together, we can build lives worth living.


Carlos M. Grilo, James E. Mitchell (2010) The Treatment of Eating Disorders: A Clinical Handbook, The Guilford Press, New York.

NEDA- Get the Facts

Mirror Mirror Eating Disorders


House of Commons Chambre Des Communes Canada- Eating Disorders Among Girls and Women in Canada

Carlat, D.J., Camargo. Review of Bulimia Nervosa in Males. American Journal of Psychiatry, 154, 1997.