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Consider the following food for thought...

  • 4.2% Of female university students struggle with Anorexia Nervosa and 3.8% suffer from Bulimia Nervosa
  • "61% of female American university students have some kind of subclinical eating problem, including chronic dieting, binge/purging and subclinical bulimia" (Mintz & Betz, 1988, as quoted in Yager & O’Dea, 2008)
  • "9-21% of male university students suffer from disordered eating and 2% meet the criteria to be diagnosed with clinical Bulimia Nervosa" (O’Dea and Abrahams, 2002, as quoted by Yager & O’Dea, 2008)

The death rate for eating disorders is high: it ranges between 18% (in 20-year studies) and 20% (in 30-year follow-up studies)

These disturbing statistics indicate that university life may be a prime breeding ground for eating disorders. University women between 18 and 22 have higher rates of bulimia than those females younger, not in college, or over 21. In a study done at Princeton University, scientists found that among patients with lifelong eating disorder problems, 53% say that their disorders first emerged during college.

The unique pressures facing university students puts them at high risk for developing these disorders. The stress caused by challenging course schedules, work demands, social pressures and being away from home can be particularly straining. For many students, university is a foreign environment full of a whole spectrum of new experiences. It may be the first time that they are consistently making food and menu choices. Establishing a balanced diet and a balanced budget can be anxiety rich exercise.

Others may use an eating disorder as a means of impeding graduation so as to cope with the stress of entering the ‘real world’.