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Eating Disorders

Activity Anorexia
Anorexia
Athletes and Eating Disorders
Binge Eating
Bulimia Complications
Bulimia Symptoms
Childhood Obesity
Childhood Obesity a Crime?
Cultural Influences on Eating Disorders
Eating Disorders & Men
Eating Disorder Help
Laxative Abuse
Nighttime Eating
Over Eating
Overweight Dangers
Pica
Purging
Recovery
Rumination
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Anorexia Story
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Athletes and Eating Disorders

Eating disorders continue to be on the rise among athletes, especially those involved in sports that place great emphasis on the athlete to be thin.

Specific Sports

There are specfic sports where eating disorders are more prevalent. Sports that emphasize the athlete to be petite or thin have a higher percentage athletes who have eating disorders. In these sports, weigh-ins and body fat analyses are often a weekly occurrence.

Some sports that emphasize thinness are:

  • gymnastics
  • figure skating
  • dancing
  • diving
  • synchronized swimming

According to a 1992 American College of Sports Medicine study, eating disorders affected 62 percent of females in sports like figure skating and gymnastics.

A high percentage of eating disorders also occur in endurance sports that emphasize low body weights. Some sports that emphasize low body weight are:

Sports that have weight classifications also have a high percentage of athletes with eating disorders. Sports that have weight classifications are:

  • wrestling
  • horse racing
  • crew

Sports were the clothing is revealing such as swimming, volleyball, track, cheerleading and bodybuilding also have a lot of athletes who have eating disorders.

Coaches and Judges

Some coaches and judges pressure athletes to be thin by criticizing them and making negative comments about their weight. Female athletes often fall victim to eating disorders while trying to stay thin to please their coaches and judges.

In sports where the athletes are judged by technical and artistic merit, many judges consider thinness as an important factor when deciding the artistic score. This pressure to be thin can lead to eating disorders.

High Risk of Medical Consequences

Athletes with eating disorders often have a higher risk of medical complications. They have a higher risk of medical complications because they are already engaging in strenuous physical activity and putting a lot of pressure on the body.

Some of the most common medical consequences are electrolyte imbalances and cardiac arrhythmias.

Athletes who have eating disorders may also suffer from

Coaches and Trainers can Help

Coaches and trainers can help their athletes by educating themselves on the signs and dangers of eating disorders.

Warning signs include:

  • restrictive dieting
  • purging through vomiting, diuretics or laxatives
  • withdrawal from teammates
  • chronic fatigue
  • excessive exercise outside of routine training periods
  • inability to complete workouts
  • excessive weight loss
  • loss of menses
  • inability to concentrate
  • changes in mood
  • fainting
  • light-headedness

Coaches and trainers could help combat eating disorders by bringing in nutrition experts to educate the athletes on healthy eating and to make them aware of how important it is to eat properly.

  

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