While many who participate in organized sports reap the many benefits such as increased self esteem, connectedness and greater body image, others have a different experience. Pressure to perform and compete at high levels can place undo stress on those who might be at risk for mental health conditions including eating disorders. With perfection and competitiveness being predisposing factors for athletes to develop eating disorders, it is no wonder that many would do whatever it takes to get them to the top.
One of the many ways that athletes have attempted to better their athletic performance is through the manipulation of their weight–often using unhealthy methods of weight loss / gain.
While it is important not to discount male athletes who also develop eating disorders, a particular study of Division 1 NCAA athletes, explored the prevalence of eating disorders in female college athletes. This study found that over one-third of female athletes reported attitudes and symptoms placing them at risk for anorexia nervosa.
If you or someone you love are an athlete struggling with disordered eating or an eating disorder, specialized help is available.