In the United States, an estimated 5-10 million women suffer from eating disorders. Estimates on Anorexia Nervosa and Bulimia Nervosa are around 6% of the total population, while college-age women are estimated to suffer between 19% and 30%. Estimates of 0.5% of women suffer from Anorexia, 2.5% suffer from Bulimia Nervosa, and anywhere between 3-30% in various studies have partial syndrome or an Eating Disorder NOS diagnosis. Approximately 90% of those who experience eating disorders are women. According to the American Anorexia and Bulimia Association, approximately 1000 females die as a result of anorexia each year, with the United States believed to be the nation with the highest incidence of eating disorders. According to a 1998 American Medical Association report, eating disorders ranked as the third most common illness among adolescent U.S. females.

Even among people who do not fit clinical diagnoses of eating disorders, weight issues and body dissatisfaction are widespread. 4 out of 5 women report dissatisfaction with their appearance, while approximately 75% of women report thinking they are too fat. One study reported 89% of respondents, male and female, expressing a desire to lose weight. Half of all American women are on a diet on any given day. 63% of high school girls and 16% of boys report dieting in order to lose weight.