Need for NIED

Misunderstood. Inadequately Treated.
Underfunded. Devastating to Deal With.
And the Deadliest of all Mental Diseases.


The pathetic state of Eating Disorders in our society

Most of us know of someone, or have heard of someone, dealing with an Eating Disorder. But very few understand the reality and reach of Eating Disorders, and just how pervasive and frustratingly difficult it is to deal with the disease…on all levels. Here are the sobering facts:

Lack of awareness and understanding

  • The term “Eating Disorder” is unfortunate because it underplays the seriousness of it all. In fact the “Disorders” are a serious brain disease, with complex roots that manifest themselves through unhealthy eating behaviours.
  • There is not one Eating Disorder, but a number of types and subtypes. These include:

- Anorexia Nervosa (restricting and starving)
- Bulimia Nervosa (bingeing and purging with related electrolyte imbalance and numerous other serious medical problems)
- Binge Eating Disorder (compulsive eating)
- Non Purging Anorexia Nervosa
- Anorexia with Bulimia sub-type
- Eating Disorders Not Otherwise Specified (EDNOS)

Click here for a more detailed explanation on each type/subtype

  • Eating Disorders have the highest mortality rate of ANY mental disease.* Eating Disorders are 12 times more likely to lead to death than any other mental illness. They are the most lethal and complex of all mental health disorders.
  • The National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders in the USA reported that 5–10% of anorexics die within 10 years after contracting the disease; 18-20% die after 20 years and only 30-40% ever fully recover.
  • Eating Disorders are generally believed to be a young woman’s disease. Not at all. It affects girls as young as 5 years old, older women aged 60+ who have been living with the disease for 30 or more years and boys and men, too. An estimated 20% of people suffering with Anorexia or Bulimia are males.
  • Data provided to the Standing Committee on the Status of Women for their Report on Eating Disorders Among Girls and Women in Canada (released November 2014) suggest that as many as 600,000 to 900,000 Canadians meet the diagnostic criteria for an Eating Disorder at any given time.
  • Stats Canada data suggests that the rate of obesity in adolescent girls in Canada is 9%. The rate of Eating Disorders among the same population is estimated to be around 18%.
  • Eating Disorders are chronic illnesses with up and downs, with progressions and dismal relapses. Many Eating Disorder sufferers have a myriad of personality issues, developmental concerns, psychological distresses, and psychiatric problems. These individuals are often arrested and incarcerated because of shoplifting and stealing food. The incidence of sexual abuse or significant traumatic experience in individuals with Eating Disorders is over 66%.

 Lack of a healthcare treatment strategy to deal with the growing disease

  • Since the onset of Eating Disorders are becoming apparent in younger individuals and affecting both male and female populations, the needs and demands for intervention (primary, secondary and tertiary levels) are only increasing. Current intensive treatment in hospitals focuses on medical stabilization and refeeding. This “one size fits all” approach is successful in only 25% of Eating Disorder cases.

Lack of funding, resources and facilities

  • Despite the high number of sufferers, there is a severe lack of healthcare-covered treatment options in Ontario. There are currently only 20 beds in Ontario for adult inpatient treatment programs.
  • The GTA has a population of over 6 million people. Yet the area has only two Eating Disorder Programs accommodating only 14 adult inpatient beds. The waiting lists for OHIP-covered beds are months long. There are no specialized treatment centres, facility, or team of experts available for individuals who either require or request immediate care.
  • Homewood Health Centre, a private treatment centre in Ontario, has two (2) OHIP covered bed for the intensive inpatient treatment in their Eating Disorder program. The waiting list for these beds is currently closed (at the time of update – March 2015).
  • According to the National Institute of Health (NIH), the average funding for Anorexia sufferers from 2008 – 2011 was $6.50 per person. Over the same period, the average funding for people with Schizophrenia and Bipolar Disorder was $200.33. Yet twice as many people will die from a serious Eating Disorder.
  • In the last 5 years in Canada, $7.5 million have been spent on operating grants for Eating Disorders. This contrasts with $86 million spent on operating grants for Schizophrenia. Eating Disorders are as severe and more prevalent and deadly than Schizophrenia, yet more than 10 times the money is spent on Schizophrenia grants.
  • The financial costs to individuals and families with Eating Disorders are overwhelming and the emotional tolls are devastating. The majority of clinicians who are knowledgeable and actively treat Eating Disorders are not physicians. Their fees are not covered by most private health insurance plans.


*American Journal of Psychiatry – Vol. 152 (7) July 1995, Sullivan, Patrick F.