The Rising Economic and Social Toll of Eating Disorders in Australia

The latest report by Butterfly, titled "Paying the Price," illuminates the severe economic and social impacts of eating disorders in Australia, pressing the need for immediate action.The latest report by Butterfly, titled “Paying the Price,” illuminates the severe economic and social impacts of eating disorders in Australia, pressing the need for immediate action. A follow-up to the initial 2012 edition, this report arrives at a pivotal moment, revealing a 21% increase in prevalence and a 36% rise in costs over the past decade.

Key Findings from the 2024 Report:
– Women are twice as likely to suffer from an eating disorder compared to men.
– A significant 27% of those affected are 19 years or younger, marking a 13% increase since 2012.
– Alarmingly, less than one-third (30%) of affected individuals seek help.
– In 2023, eating disorders were responsible for 1,273 deaths.
– On average, individuals with an eating disorder lose 10 workdays annually.
– The productivity cost to Australia has reached an astounding $18.1 billion per year.
– Employers bear an average cost of $44,381 annually per 100 employees due to presenteeism, absenteeism, and recruitment expenses.

The economic burden extends beyond individuals, impacting carers, communities, and workplaces, underscoring a public health crisis that requires comprehensive strategies for resolution.

Dr. Jim Hungerford, CEO of Butterfly, emphasizes the critical need for government recognition and investment to combat this escalating crisis. The report advocates for early intervention and prevention to mitigate the social and economic fallout.

The Co-Chairs of the Parliamentary Friends of Eating Disorders Awareness Group acknowledge the report’s significance, urging for improved support and strategies to address the needs of over one million Australians living with eating disorders.

The “Paying the Price” report serves as a stark reminder of the growing challenge eating disorders pose to individuals and the nation. It highlights the desperate need for enhanced support, funding, and policy changes to provide effective care and prevention.

As we face this public health crisis, the time for action is now. We must rally together to support those affected, advocate for change, and invest in prevention and early intervention strategies to alter the course of this devastating trend.

Source: Butterfly Foundation
👉 Read the full report here:

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