Eating Disorders

Eating disorders in sports

December 9, 2015

Self-Paced Course: Non-Diet Academy


You'll also love

learn more

A Certified Eating Disorders Registered Dietitian (CEDRD) with a master's degree in dietetics & nutrition. My passion is helping you find peace with food - and within yourself.

Meet Katy

Certain sports are known to carry a higher risk for eating disorders in the athletes.  It's important that parents and coaches are on the lookout for warning signs of eating disorders so that intervention and treatment can take place early.

The most well-known examples of high-risk ED sports are those where thinness and muscularity are highly valued.  This includes gymnastics, figure skating, dancing (especially ballet), distance running, cheerleading and swimming. 

Other sports carry risks as well.  Consider those where participation is contingent upon being at a certain weight, including wrestling, boxing and rowing.  Athletes are known to use eating disorder behaviors to "make weight" including starving themselves, bingeing, purging, dehydration, fluid loading, diet pills, laxatives, diuretics, excessive exercise, and other behaviors that manipulate weight and are dangerous to health.

Sports such as body building and weight lifting don't promote thinness but rather muscularity.  Behaviors tend to include steroid use, restricting carbohydrates, excessive protein intake and binge eating to gain muscle bulk, intentional dehydration (to make the muscles look more defined).

This isn't to say these sports should be avoided.  It is however important to be aware of the risks and to monitor the athletes for signs of eating disorders. 

Leave a Reply