Eating disorders have been defined as “disorders of eating behaviors, associated thoughts, attitudes and emotions, and their resulting physiological impairments”. Anorexia nervosa (AN) is a syndrome characterized by three essential criteria. The first is a self-induced starvation to a significant degree—a behavior. The second is a relentless drive for thinness and/or a morbid fear of fatness—a psychopathology. The third criterion is the presence of medical signs and symptoms resulting from starvation—a physiological symptomatology.[1
] National Comorbidity Survey Replication estimates the life time prevalence of AN, bulimia nervosa (BN) and binge eating at 0.9%, 1.5% and 3.5%, respectively, in women and 0.3%, 0.5%, and 2.0% in men.
Studies from western countries have reported that 1% college-aged women have anorexia and 4 % college-age women have bulimia in the U.S. Similarly, 2.6% of female Norwegian students and 1.3% of Italian students have been found to have anorexia. However, studies from Asian countries have reported lower prevalence as compared to western countries. The prevalence rates of AN in Japan has been reported to be 0.025-0.030% and 0.01% in China.[2
] In fact, eating disorders have for long being conceptualized as culture-bound syndromes seen in western settings. Understanding accurate epidemiology of eating disorder is not possible due to changing definition of what constitutes an eating disorder, presentation of eating disorders by their physical consequences in form as medical disorders and lack of clear diagnostic criteria and reliable assessment methods, especially for the nonstereotypical cases in males, minorities, and matrons. Hence there is a need to deal with all these issues appropriately in the upcoming modifications of the nosological systems.