Anyone can develop an eating disorder. They occur in all ages, genders, ethnic groups and parts of the world.
For many people, an eating disorder starts in their childhood or adolescence. The highest risk group are adolescent females.
Although eating disorders are more common in females, they occur in males too. In fact, we think that males with eating disorders are often under-recognised.
Some people seem to be genetically predisposed to developing an eating disorder.
Factors that increase the risk of developing an eating disorder include genetics, dieting, puberty, family history, diabetes, adolescence, trauma, and certain occupations such as ballet, gymnastics and weight lifting.