The number of girls and women affected by full-blown eating disorders remains quite small. Conservative estimates are 0.2% and 0.8% for anorexia, 1% for bulimia and 1-3% for binge eating disorder. However, a far larger proportion of girls have symptoms of disordered eating which can lead on to the development of an eating disorder with some studies showing a third of older girls and a quarter of younger (11-13) ones having problematic eating behaviour. There have been attempts to develop primary prevention programmes aimed at reducing risk factors and building up protective ones. One such programme - developed in Germany - is the Prima programme which uses standardized posters and guidelines and is delivered by trained female teachers either within the normal class schedule or as a separate workshop. The girls who took part in the course reported significant improvements in body self-esteem, figure dissatisfaction, knowledge and eating attitudes. The teachers who conducted the programme felt well qualified and were evaluated significantly positive by their students.
Berger, Uwe ... [et al] - Primary prevention of eating disorders: characteristics of effective programmes and how to bring them to broader dissemination European Eating Disorders Review May-June 2008, 16(3), 173-183