About Eating Disorders

About Eating Disorders

WaterStone Foundation was formally established in 2014 to address the lack of awareness, treatment, and support for individuals with eating disorders.  Its Board of Directors and Advisors have contributed both lived and professional experience to target gaps in existing services and create programs and initiatives that can have a profound and measurable impact.

Numerous research studies from across the globe report that eating disorders are common and serious conditions affecting up to 4% of the population [1]. The mortality rate, particularly for Anorexia Nervosa (AN) is high [23], and has been shown to increase by 5.6% for each decade that an individual remains ill [45]. It is well-documented that interventions targeted at earlier stages of illness are critically important, given the evidence showing that earlier treatment leads to better outcomes [67]. 

  1.  Hoek HW, van Hoeken D. Review of the prevalence and incidence of eating disorders. Int J Eat Disord. 2003;34(4):383–96.
  2. Arcelus J, et al. Mortality rates in patients with anorexia nervosa and other eating disorders. A meta-analysis of 36 studies. Arch Gen Psychiatry. 2011;68(7):724–31.
  3. Ward A, et al. Follow-up mortality study of compulsorily treated patients with anorexia nervosa. Int J Eat Disord. 2015;48(7):860–5.
  4. Sullivan PF. Mortality in anorexia nervosa. Am J Psychiatry. 1995;152(7):1073–4.
  5. Herzog DB, Nussbaum KM, Marmor AK. Comorbidity and outcome in eating disorders. Psychiatr Clin North Am. 1996;19(4):843–59.
  6. Russell GF, et al. An evaluation of family therapy in anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa. Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1987;44(12):1047–56.
  7. Treasure J, Russell G. The case for early intervention in anorexia nervosa: theoretical exploration of maintaining factors. Br J Psychiatry. 2011;199(1):5–7.

At every age, people with eating disorders have a significantly higher mortality rate than is standard – with most frequent causes of death resulting from starvation, suicide, or cardiac arrest. Current estimates predict that 10% of individuals suffering from anorexia will die within 10 years of its onset.

In many cases, eating disorders occur alongside other psychiatric disorders, including anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder and substance abuse. An individual may not have all symptoms for any one eating disorder. It is also possible for symptoms and diagnosis to change over time.

The most common traits shared by people affected by eating disorders are extreme emotions, attitudes or behaviours about food, exercise, and body image.