Recently, conversations about eating disorders in athletes have been flooding the internet. People are wondering how coaches and parents can recognize symptoms and what the best treatment options are. There is a common misconception that athletics resulting in weight loss is the norm, but that’s not always the case. The main purpose of exercising is to build up body strength and muscle mass. Individuals who are driven to use athletics while restricting intake for weight loss are at a high risk of developing an eating disorder.
Articles tagged with: Athletes
People often think "Eating disorders are a woman's disease." This myth is constantly reinforced by character portrayals on television, targeted advertisements, and even studies and articles that draw from exclusively female samples. The sad reality is that eating disorders affect any and all genders, and those who do not identify as female may even suffer more with the very diagnosis of their disease due to the stereotype that eating disorders are feminine. Therefore, although eating disorders affect each individual differently, it is important to consider one's gender identification in order to increase efficacy for prevention, detection, and treatment of the disease.
Article: Eating Disorder Pathology in Elite Adolescent Athletes. International Journal of Eating Disorders, vol. 49, issue 6, p. 553-562. Giel, Hermann-Werner, Mayer, Diehl, Schneider, Thiel, & Zipfel. (2016). Access the article here.
This study examined eating disorder pathology in a large group (n=1138) of elite adolescent athletes.
The researchers assessed body weight, weight control behaviors, and body acceptance. They also screened overall for core eating disorder symptoms as well as for depression and anxiety.
Female and Male Athletes are Susceptible to Disordered Eating
While sports and exercise are excellent ways to improve mental and physical health, grow self-esteem, and build relationships, the fact that athletes carry risk factors for disordered eating is one that shouldn't be ignored. What makes athletes vulnerable to eating disorders? What should coaches, trainers, parents, and peers look out for?