Estimated prevalence of eating disorders in Singapore

Sook Ning Chua, Ellen E. Fitzsimmons-Craft, S. Bryn Austin, Denise E. Wilfley, C. Barr Taylor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Objective: There is a lack of research on the prevalence of eating disorders (EDs) in Singapore. The aims of our study were to (a) estimate the prevalence of EDs, risk status, and help-seeking behaviors among adults in Singapore, (b) examine gender differences between ED status groups, and (c) characterize clinical profiles of ED status groups. Method: We administered a cross-sectional survey that included a validated EDs screening tool to adults in Singapore. Results: A total of 797 Singaporean adults ages 21–77 years completed the ED screen. The majority of participants screened positive for a current DSM-5 clinical ED (6.2%), other specified feeding or ED (37.0%) or at high risk of developing an ED (19.5%). Only 1.6% of those who screened positive for an ED reported currently being in treatment. The ratio of males to females who screened positive for an ED was nearly 1:1. The clinical profiles of ED groups were consistent with the clinical presentations found in Western nations. Discussion: This is the first study in Singapore to estimate the prevalence of EDs in a large sample of adults. Results highlight the urgent need for more ED research and expansion of prevention and treatment programs to address the high prevalence of ED psychopathology in Singapore.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7-18
Number of pages12
JournalInternational Journal of Eating Disorders
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2021


  • Singapore
  • adult
  • feeding and eating disorders
  • female
  • male
  • prevalence
  • psychopathology
  • screening


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