Are eating disorders and their symptoms increasing in prevalence among adolescent population?

Jessi Litmanen, Sari Fröjd, Mauri Marttunen, Rasmus Isomaa, Riittakerttu Kaltiala-Heino

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18 Citations (Scopus)


Background: A debate concerns whether eating disorders are increasing in prevalence. The role of socio-economic status (SES) for adolescent eating disorders (ED) is another matter of debate.Aims: To ascertain whether self-reported eating disorders or their symptoms have increased in prevalence in adolescent population from the early 2000s to early 2010s.Methods: A person-identifiable classroom survey, Adolescent Mental Health Cohort study, was carried out among the 9th graders in comprehensive schools in Tampere, Finland, during academic year 2002-2003, and replicated among then 9th graders during academic years 2012-2013. Eating disorders were elicited with questionnaires tailored according to DSM-IV criteria for anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa.Results: No changes were observed between 2002-2003 and 2012-2013 in the prevalence of anorexia and bulimia, most of the symptoms of anorexia and bulimia, or the proportion of adolescents having received treatment due to eating disorders among the girls or the boys. Eating disorders, treatment contacts due to eating disorders, and eating disorder symptoms were not systematically associated with either low or high parental socio-economic status.Conclusion: Based on this dataset, eating disorders are not increasing in the adolescent population. Adolescent eating disorders are not associated with socio-economic status of their family.
Original languageUndefined/Unknown
Pages (from-to)61–66
Number of pages6
JournalNordic Journal of Psychiatry
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2017
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • Eating disorders
  • time-trend study
  • SES

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