Economic burden of eating disorders in South Korea

Sang Min Lee, Minha Hong, Saengryeol Park, Won Sub Kang, In Hwan Oh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Few studies have investigated the epidemiology of eating disorders using national representative data. In this study, we investigated the treatment prevalence and economic burden of eating disorders in South Korea. Methods: The aim of this study was to estimate the treatment prevalence and the medical expenditure of diagnosed eating disorders (ICD F50.x) in South Korea between 2010 and 2015. We also examined the economic costs of eating disorders, including the direct medical cost, direct non-medical costs, and indirect costs, in order to calculate the economic burden of such disorders. Results: The total treatment prevalence of eating disorders in South Korea was 12.02 people (per 100,000) in 2010, and 13.28 in 2015. The cost of medical expenditures due to eating disorders increased from USD 1229724 in 2010 to USD 1843706 in 2015. The total economic cost of eating disorders was USD 5455626 in 2015. In 2015, the economic cost and prevalence of eating disorders was the highest in the 20–29 age group. Conclusions: The results showed the eating disorders are insufficiently managed in the medical insurance system. Further research is therefore warranted to better understand the economic burdens of each type of eating disorder.

Original languageEnglish
Article number30
JournalJournal of Eating Disorders
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2021 Dec
Externally publishedYes


  • Anorexia nervosa
  • Bulimia nervosa
  • Burden of disease
  • Eating disorder
  • Prevalence


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