Research Publication Title

The Effects of Eating Disorders on Athletic Performance

Major

Exercise Science

Faculty Mentor(s)

Kelley Massey

Keywords

Eating Disorders, Athletes, Performance, Nutrition

Abstract

Eating disorders are mental disorders characterized by negative eating habits that compromise physical and mental health. These conditions are seen in small percentages of the population in both men and women, but many of these disorders such as anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and orthorexia nervosa are seen within the athlete population. The majority of athletes are considered to be very healthy in terms of BMI, however in many sports, coaches and peers can place a strong emphasis on the importance of attaining unrealistic weights in order to excel. This can significantly impact the athlete’s relationship with food and lead to a distorted body image. This review looked at how different categories of restricted eating and eating disorders cause long-term deterioration of sport performance due to subsequent muscle deterioration. Athletes and coaches should be educated on the proper nutrition requirements for strenuous athletic performance and how to deal with the stress of the lean culture of certain sports. Motivating athletes to improve other aspects of the sport such as fitness, strength, and endurance are healthier ways to improve performance without emphasising weight loss that can lead to disordered eating.

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The Effects of Eating Disorders on Athletic Performance

Eating disorders are mental disorders characterized by negative eating habits that compromise physical and mental health. These conditions are seen in small percentages of the population in both men and women, but many of these disorders such as anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and orthorexia nervosa are seen within the athlete population. The majority of athletes are considered to be very healthy in terms of BMI, however in many sports, coaches and peers can place a strong emphasis on the importance of attaining unrealistic weights in order to excel. This can significantly impact the athlete’s relationship with food and lead to a distorted body image. This review looked at how different categories of restricted eating and eating disorders cause long-term deterioration of sport performance due to subsequent muscle deterioration. Athletes and coaches should be educated on the proper nutrition requirements for strenuous athletic performance and how to deal with the stress of the lean culture of certain sports. Motivating athletes to improve other aspects of the sport such as fitness, strength, and endurance are healthier ways to improve performance without emphasising weight loss that can lead to disordered eating.