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Ouch: The eye-popping costs of an eating disorder

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Butterfly: Let's Talk

This is the Butterfly Podcast from the Butterfly Foundation, your national voice for people living with body image issues and eating disorders.
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We often talk about the psycho-emotional costs of eating disorders for those living with them; but up to this point, we haven’t learned much about the costs to society.

Now we know. Since 2012, there’s been a shocking 36 per cent increase in the economic burden of eating disorders to the people of Australia. In the meantime, 1.1 million people in this country are currently living with an eating disorder – that's an increase of 21% in only ten years.

These and many other disturbing metrics are in the new Paying the Price Report, produced by Deloitte Access Economics and Butterfly. “In terms of economic cost, we're talking sixty-seven billion dollars per year,” says Jim Hungerford, Butterfly’s CEO. “Yet, in comparison, the amount of money that is spent to prevent eating disorders or to support people who do develop them is actually minuscule.”

Chantel, invested in their recovery, can relate - including that their condition could have been prevented. “The cost of my eating disorder takes up about 20% of my annual income," they say. “And this is even with Medicare rebates and private health insurance. To access a therapist for fortnightly sessions, a dietitian for quarterly sessions and a psychiatrist for quarterly sessions to manage my medication, costs me up to $11,738.97 cents every year.”

Chantel isn’t alone, and action is needed to change the paradigm, not only for the community but for the sake of taxpayers too. Listen to Butterfly’s CEO, Jim Hungerford, Deloitte’s reporting lead, Simone Cheung, and people with living experience unpack the report, and what it means for the future of prevention and care.

Find out more about Paying the Price Report

Find out more about the Parliamentary Friends Group

Find out more about Simeone Cheung

Find out more about Deloitte Access Economics

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Butterfly: Let's Talk

This is the Butterfly: Let's Talk Podcast from the Butterfly Foundation, your national voice for peo 
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