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Int J Eat Disord. 2020 Jan 30. doi: 10.1002/eat.23236. [Epub ahead of print]

DSM-5 eating disorders among adolescents and young adults in Finland: A public health concern.

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Clinicum, Department of Public Health, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland.
Department of Adolescent Psychiatry, University of Helsinki and Helsinki University Central Hospital, Helsinki, Finland.
Department of Public Health & Institute for Molecular Medicine Finland (FIMM), University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland.



We aimed to assess the lifetime prevalence, 10-year incidence, and peak periods of onset for eating disorders as defined by the Fifth Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) among adolescents and young adults born in the 1980s in Finland.


Virtually all Finnish twins born in 1983-1987 (n = 5,600) were followed prospectively from the age of 12 years. A subsample of participants (n = 1,347) was interviewed using a semi-structured diagnostic interview in their early twenties.


The prevalence of lifetime DSM-5 eating disorders was 17.9% for females and 2.4% for males (pooled across genders, 10.5%). The estimated lifetime prevalences for females and males, respectively, were 6.2 and 0.3% for anorexia nervosa (AN), 2.4 and 0.16% for bulimia nervosa (BN), 0.6 and 0.3% for binge-eating disorder (BED), 4.5 and 0.16% for other specified feeding or eating disorder (OSFED), and 4.5 and 1.6% for unspecified feeding or eating disorder (UFED). Among females, the prevalence of OSFED subcategories was as follows: atypical AN 2.1%, purging disorder 1.3%, BED of low frequency/limited duration 0.7%, and BN of low frequency/limited duration 0.4%. The 10-year incidence rate of eating disorders was 1,700 per 100,000 person-years among females (peak age of onset 16-19 years) and 220 per 100,000 person-years among males.


Eating disorders are a common public health concern among youth and young adults, affecting one in six females and one in 40 males. Adequate screening efforts, prevention, and interventions are urgently needed.


classification; diagnosis; eating disorders; epidemiology; incidence; prevalence


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