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Rudo Loock
APK – Group Project Paper
Athletes and Eating disorders
Eating Disorders is a real-world problem today that affects people of all ages, sex and race and not only athletes. According to psychology today, eating disorders are characterized by a persistent disturbance of eating patterns that lead to poor physical or psychological health. Major eating disorders are avoidant/restrictive food intake disorders, like anorexia nervosa and binge-eating disorder. It has been found that eating disorders affects roughly 20 million women and 10 million men worldwide. It is treatable but is seen as a serious mental illness. There are many factors that contributes to the causes for eating disorders. These factors can be biological, psychological and sociocultural. There are multiple forms of eating disorders. These include Anorexia Nervosa, Bulimia Nervosa and binge eating disorder to only name a few. The first type of eating disorder that is being discussed is Anorexia Nervosa. It is an eating disorder that’s “characterized by the extreme fear of becoming overweight, leading to excessive dieting to the point of serious ill-health and sometimes death.” Signs that are related to Anorexia Nervosa, include symptoms like weight loss; hair loss; wearing a lot of clothes to try to stay warm or hide your weight loss; you are obsessed with weight, food, calories, fat grams and dieting; they are unable to maintain a healthy and normal body weight; they have an extreme and tough exercise schedule, regardless of their disorder.
The second type of eating disorder that is being discussed is Bulimia Nervosa. It is an eating disorder that involves binge eating followed by purging, most of the time through forced vomiting. Signs that are related to this type of eating disorder, include things like evidence of binge eating; evidence of purging behaviors; drinking immoderate amounts of water or uses mouthwash, mints, or gum a lot; dental problems and marks on hands from induced vomiting could also be signs.
Binge eating disorder is when a person loses control over eating behaviors. In most cases, excessive emotional stress is the cause of binge eating disorders. People with this disorder have a lack of control over eating behaviors and would eat excessive amounts of food in small time frames. This could lead to feelings of disgust, depression, or guilt after eating. In some cases they would steal or hoard food. The disappearance of food in a short of amount of time is considered as evidence of binge eating.
Eating disorders are common in all sports and affects 62% of all female athletes and 33% of all male athletes. There are two types of sports that emphasize diet, appearance, size, and weight. The first type is Aesthetic sports. Examples include body building, gymnastics and figure skating. The second type is weight class sports, like wrestling, rowing or horse racing. There are also certain factors that contribute to the vulnerability of female student athletes. One of the main factors are the social influence the emphasizes thinness. Societal norms today have a big impact on the way we view people and the way people view us. These norms impact the way that we think of ourselves. Performance anxiety is also another big factor for female athletes. The thought of being too fat or heavy causes female athletes to develop eating disorders. Another factor is negative self-appraisal of athletic development, which relates back to performance anxiety. Eating disorders also has a great impact on the bodies of female athletes. Female athletes with an eating disorder are 8 times more likely to be injured. Other medical implications could also include things like menstrual dysfunction and low bone mineral density, which could make your bones more fragile.
Luckily there are various ways to treat and stop eating disorders for good. In order for treatment to be effective, the athlete must be willing to turn his or her life around. Some athletes resist treatments because they are afraid that they might gain weight which will have a negative impact on them. This could result in a loss of status or a loss of playing time. Some athletes are also scared to be treated for mental illness because of a negative stigma. People with mental illnesses are generally viewed as being weird and don’t conform to the norms of society. Coaches can help prevent this in a number of different ways. It is important for a coach to know the warning signs, both psychological and behavioral. It is also important for coaches not to make an emphasis on weight and saying things like you have to be a certain weight in order for you to be on the team. They also need to be educated in the various symptoms. It could also be beneficial for the coached to educate the athletes as well on eating disorders and emphasize the risks of low weight. The most important thing in my opinion is that they must understand that weight is personal and sensitive issue. There are a lot of resources around you to help you, all you have to do is recognize that you have an eating disorder and seek help.
Just remember, anyone can develop an eating disorder, no matter who you are or how athletic you are.

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