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Prevalence of eating disorders

Impact by Primary Health Network

The National Eating Disorders Collaboration commissioned Deloitte Access Economics to estimate the impact of eating disorders across Primary Health Networks in Australia.

Eating disorders (EDs) are serious mental illnesses with high levels of psychological distress, risks of long-term medical complications and an increased risk of premature death due to medical complications and to an increased rate of suicide. EDs have been shown to have one of the highest impacts on health related quality of life of all psychiatric disorders.

As PHNs are responsible for coordinating some health services in their catchment areas that impact people with EDs and their families, there is a need to provide evidence of the impact of EDs within each PHN.

It was estimated that more 1 million Australians were living with EDs in 2019. The PHNs with the most people living with EDs include North Western Melbourne (80,507), Central and Eastern Sydney (73,199), and South Eastern Melbourne (65,118).

Adjusting for the size of the population removes most of the variation in the prevalence of EDs across PHNs – the prevalence varies from 3.47% in North Coast to 4.38% in Central and Eastern Sydney. The PHNs with the highest prevalence rates of EDs include Central and Eastern Sydney, North Western Melbourne, and the Northern Territory.

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