Athlete and Eating Disorder


disorders continue to be on the rise among athletes, especially those involved in sports that place great emphasis on to be thin and lean. Sports such as gymnastics, figure skating, dancing and synchronized swimming have a higher percentage of athletes with eating disorders, than sports such as basketball, skiing and volleyball.
Causes of eating disorders among athletes
1) The idealization of thinness in our society: Judges rewarded thinner athletes
2) The belief that lower body fat enhances performance
3) Body Dissatisfaction: Athletes at risk for eating disorders are often those who are critical of their own athletic performance and who express these concerns by dissatisfaction with their bodies
Risk Groups:
1) Gymnastics
2) Swimming
3) Ballet
4) Wrestling
5) Body Building
6) Jockeying
7) Rowing
8) Diving
Male and female athletes: different risk factors:
Males also develop eating disorders but at a much reduced incidence (approximately 90% female; 10% male). The female athlete is subject to the constant social pressure to be thin as she is in sports milieu that may overvalue performance, low body fat, and an idealized, unrealistic body shape, size, and weight. Many sports demand low percentages of body fat. In general, men have more lean muscle tissue and less fatty tissue. Males also have higher metabolic rates than females thus women put on weight easily.
Complications of Eating Disorders in Athletes
1. Eating disorders may result in symptoms, which can lower performance.
2. Fatigue, weakness, lightheadedness, broken bones, leg cramps, and irregular heart rate are common.
3. Low thyroid hormones, poor heart and circulatory function, osteoporosis, and electrolyte imbalance can also occur.
4. Irregular menses or absence of Menses in female athlete can lead to osteoporosis and infertility problems.
Treatment
1. Psychological counseling addresses the eating disordered symptoms the underlying psychological, interpersonal, and cultural factors.
2. Nutritional counseling is also necessary as athletes have special nutritional need.
3. Family therapy
4. Gynecological treatment for amenorrohoea (lack of Menses).
5. Medical treatment for hormonal and other physical problems.

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