This Eating Disorders Awareness Week we share some facts about eating disorders you may or may not yet know. Further research is needed to understand, prevent and treat eating disorders which is why the work of MQ is so vital.


Did you know…?


  1. Studies suggest that up to 25% of people with eating disorders are male.


  1. Eating disorders can affect anyone no matter their age, race, gender, sexuality or background.


  1. There are many different types of eating disorder, including: Anorexia nervosa, ARFID (avoidant/restrictive food intake disorder – the theme of Eating Disorders Awareness Week 2024), Binge eating disorder, Bulimia nervosa, OSFED (other specified feeding or eating disorder).


  1. Orthorexia, an eating disorder where a person focuses on eating only healthy or “pure” food, is not currently a clinically recognised eating disorder, but this disorder can be serious. Someone with symptoms of orthorexia may be diagnosed with another eating disorder instead.


  1. The causes of eating disorders are not yet fully understood, which is why research is so vital. Causes can include a mix of genetic, biological and cultural factors. MQ’s researchers are doing great work to progress our knowledge and your support helps them do this.


  1. On average it can take three and a half years for someone to get treatment once symptoms begin. The cause for such a long delay often is due to people not realising they’re unwell.


  1. All eating disorders are treatable. Recovery is possible. Many can and do make full, ongoing recoveries. The sooner someone receives treatment and the vital support they need, the more likely lifelong recovery is possible.


  1. The number of those looking for help and treatment has increased in the past 20 years. This could be due to increased awareness of eating disorders or due to increase in people who are suffering.


  1. Eating disorders may cause weight gain, weight loss, or no noticeable change in weight. Most people with eating disorders have bodies in a ‘normal’ weight range.


  1. Although it’s the source of many concerns, social media is not likely to be the only cause of eating disorders or the direct cause, though for some it can be an exacerbating factor. MQ is supporting a report into how we can have a mentally healthier relationship with the internet which will cover social media and these sorts of mental health conditions.


If you’re worried about your own or someone else’s health, you can contact Beat, the UK’s eating disorder charity, on 0808 801 0677 or


The post 10 Facts About Eating Disorders first appeared on MQ Mental Health Research.


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