The implications of not adequately addressing eating disorders in the United States are astronomically costly, new research in the International Journal of Eating Disorders has uncovered.
According to the study, eating disorders resulted in a $400 billion economic disruption in just one year, from 2018-2019.
“Costs of eating disorders were estimated using a bottom‐up cost‐of‐illness methodology, based on the estimated one‐year prevalence of eating disorders. Intangible costs of reduced wellbeing were also estimated using disability‐adjusted life years,” the study reads.
The $400 billion estimations of economic costs also considered reduced well-being, productivity costs, and other societal economic costs, as highlighted in the findings.
To mitigate the massive disruption, researchers suggest increased focus on policy action for American patients suffering from eating disorders.
“The impact of eating disorders in the U.S. is substantial when considering both economic costs and reduced wellbeing (nearly $400 billion in fiscal year 2018–2019),” researchers wrote in the journal report.
“Study findings underscore the urgency of identifying effective policy actions to reduce the impact of eating disorders, such as through primary prevention and screening to identify people with emerging or early eating disorders in primary care, schools, and workplaces and ensuring access to early evidence‐based treatment.”