Paying the Price: economic and social impact of eating disorders in Australia, Australia's first socioeconomic impact report on eating disorders, launched by the Butterfly Foundation this week, has highlighted the need to improve the level of service delivery to some of Australia's most vulnerable people. More than 913,000 people in Australia currently have an eating disorder, at a socioeconomic cost of $69.7 billion.
The report also estimated that the mortality rates are almost twice as high for people with eating disorders than in the general population, with up to 1,828 deaths from eating disorders in 2012 (515 males and 1,313 females).
"I commend the Butterfly Foundation on the publication of this important work, which I hope will be the foundation for a lot more work to come", said Adjunct Associate Professor Kim Ryan, CEO of the Australian College of Mental Health Nurses. "The Federal Government has committed just over $1.9 million to the Butterfly Foundation for its support and information services for people with an eating disorder, and I hope this funding continues. The Government's commitment to supporting those with an eating disorder is to be commended, but this report shows us there is still much more that needs to be done. We know that eating disorders are not well understood across both health and the broader community. Up-skilling health and mental health professionals in understanding and identifying eating disorders will be essential in addressing this unacceptable mortality rate and socioeconomic cost."