Improved treatment programs for people with eating disorders could provide a $15 billion fillip to the economy. The Butterfly Foundation commissioned a cost-benefit analysis of better intervention programs, saying only between five and 15 per cent of sufferers received help. There are estimated to be more than 900,000 people struggling with eating disorders in Australia, and the health group is calling for increased focus on early intervention and long-term follow up. The study by Deloitte Access Economics, released on Monday, finds eating disorders will cost the economy more than $27 billion over 10 years. Intervention in all new cases would cost $2.8 billion over the same period, it said. But the economic benefits would total $15.1 billion.
The multi-billion dollar intervention program would also dramatically improve recovery rates from five to eight per cent, to 50 to 80 per cent. “This will improve the lives of tens of thousands of people,” the report said.
This article first appeared SBS, 2 March 2015.