Worrying Increase in Number of Israelis Suffering From Eating Disorders


During Monday’s meeting of the Health Committee on the treatment of eating disorders in Israel, Dr. Ehud Susser, clinical director of Mental Health Services at the Health Ministry, said that over the past few years, mainly during the corona pandemic, there has been a dramatic and worrying increase in eating disorder cases in Israel, particularly among the teenage population, but also among adults. According to data presented by Dr. Susser, each year some 1,500 children and teenagers in Israel are diagnosed with an eating disorder. However, in practice, some 30,000-40,000 teenage girls and women suffer from eating disorders, and 15-20% of them develop a chronic disease. The death rate is 5%.

According to Dr. Susser, thef Health Ministry is aware of the lack of responses for those suffering from eating disorders, in both treatment and rehabilitation. As a result, in 2022 the ministry added some NIS 25 million to the budget for treatment within the community, inpatient beds and day treatments.

Committee Chair MK Uriel Busso (Shas) said, “The numbers are catastrophic, and this matter should be prioritized by the Health Ministry. I will turn to the health minister and discuss this issue with him without delay.” MK Busso stated that the Health Committee demands that the Government ministries immediately advance a national program for treating eating disorders, which will include the gathering of data, prevention measures, informing the public, the planning of a system for hospitalization in hospitals and in the community, monitoring wait times, and the training of key personnel.

“We have to act fast, so that we will not have to eulogize, G-d forbid, additional people who suffer from eating disorders,” he said. “About a year ago, [a media personality] took part in a committee meeting on this matter. She said at the time, ‘I am afraid I’ll run out of time. Action must be taken, fast.'”

MK Ron Katz (Yesh Atid), who initiated the debate, said, “The data presented by the Health Ministry do not indicate progress, but rather the bankruptcy of the entire field.”

A woman whose daughter has been suffering from an eating disorder for four years said, “She weighs 28 kilos now. She was admitted to a hospital, but was later released. If she had cancer, would she have still been sent home? Are we waiting for more cases?”

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