Sonja A. Swanson of the National Institute of Mental Health in Bethesda, Md., and colleagues examined data from a nationally representative sample of U.S. adolescents -- including face-to-face interviews with about 10,000 teens ages 13-18.
The study, published online ahead of print of the July issue of Archives of General Psychiatry, found lifetime prevalence rates of 0.3 percent for anorexia nervosa, 0.9 percent for bulimia nervosa and 1.6 percent for binge-eating disorder.
Swanson said although the lifetime prevalence estimates of eating disorders from population-based studies of adults are relatively low, their severity and effects have been demonstrated through higher rates of impairment, medical complications, other illnesses, death and suicide. Eating disorders are also associated with other psychiatric disorders, Swanson said.
For example, almost everyone with anorexia nervosa reported social impairment and 19.6 percent reported severe social impairment, while lifetime suicidality was associated with all types of eating disorders, the study said.
Most adolescents with an eating disorder sought some form of treatment but only a minority received treatment specifically for their eating disorder, Swanson said.