Return to Index
Risk Factors for Eating Disorders
A risk factor is something that raises a person's chances of getting a disease or health problem. A person can have eating disorders with or without the risks below. The more risks a person has, the greater the chances are.
All eating disorders are more common in women than men. Bulimia is also more common in lesbian, gay, and transgender youth. Eating disorders are more common in teens and young adults. But, they can happen at any age.
Other things that raise the risk of eating disorders are:
- Family members with eating disorders
- A drive to be perfect
- Mental health problems, such as:
- A history of trauma
- Poor coping skills—a hard time controlling stress
- Family problems—such as parents who are overprotective, harsh, or who have problems coping
- Western culture—Thinness, beauty, and youth are a way of life
- Prior abuse of any kind—physical, emotional, or sexual
Anorexia nervosa. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/anorexia-nervosa. Accessed April 6, 2022.
Binge eating disorder. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/binge-eating-disorder . Accessed April 6, 2022.
Bulimia nervosa. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/bulimia-nervosa. Accessed April 6, 2022.
Eating disorders: About more than food. National Institute of Mental Health website. Available at: https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/eating-disorders. Accessed April 6, 2022.
Russon J, Mensinger J, et al. Identifying risk factors for disordered eating among female youth in primary care. Child Psychiatry Hum Dev. 2019;50(5):727-737.
- Reviewer: EBSCO Medical Review Board Dianne Scheinberg Rishikof MS, RD, LDN
- Update Date: 04/06/2022