Prevalence of eating disorders and disordered eating in Western Asia: a systematic review and meta-Analysis

Maryam Alfalahi, Sangeetha Mahadevan, Rola al Balushi, Moon Fai Chan, Muna Al Saadon, Samir Al-Adawi*, M. Walid Qoronfleh

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


This study aimed to systematically synthesize and appraise existing literature on the prevalence of eating disorders and disordered eating in Western Asia. A systematic literature search of major English and Arabic databases, i.e., PubMed/Medline, EMBASE, PsychInfo, Web of Science and Scopus (English), Al-Manhal (Arabic) and grey literature was done to obtain the prevalence of disordered eating and eating disorders in Western Asia. The literature search was conducted on June 12th, 2020, and included papers from 1990–2020. Out of the 249 unduplicated original studies reviewed, 27 were included in the final meta-analysis. Data were then categorized according to the tools used to identify the presence of disordered eating or eating disorders. The pooled prevalence of disordered eating as solicited by both the Eating Attitudes Scale 26 and the Eating Attitudes Scale 40 (N = 11841) was 22.07%, the Sick, Control, One stone, Fat, Food Questionnaire (n = 3160) was 22.28% and the Eating Disorder Examination–Questionnaire (n = 425) was 7.95%. The pooled prevalence obtained from those studies using semi-structured interviews for anorexia nervosa (n = 118190) was 1.59%, bulimia nervosa (n = 118513) was 2.41% and the estimated prevalence of Eating Disorder Not Otherwise Specified (EDNOS) (n = 118087) was 3.51%. Although the prevalence rate of eating disorders solicited using semi-structured interviews appeared to parallel the international range, the overall prevalence rate of disordered eating appeared to be slightly higher than the global rates of prevalence. A significant number of the suspected/detected cases of disordered eating appear to fulfill the criteria for EDNOS. This study is classified as evidence obtained from systematic reviews and meta-analyses (i.e. Level 1).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)556-585
Number of pages30
JournalEating Disorders
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Sept 4 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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