Eating Disorders in Athletics

Having watched an old movie tonight, about a young gymnast with dreams of going to the Olympics, and falling prey to Anorexia Nervosa, Binge eating, and Bulimia I decided to learn about eating disorders. I’d like a base understanding of what causes such beautiful and gifted young people, to potentially deadly disorders.

“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.” (  Why is this? I do not know. Perhaps the higher incidence of EDs in athletes of the sports mentioned above, is because of the technical and artistic skill required. Though Anorexia Nervosa, and other eating disorders  are not only found in athletes. “The causes of eating disorders are complex and not yet fully understood.” (

The Wikipedia article on the subject of eating disorders, states about 40 percent of nine to ten year old girls are currently trying to lose weight. Females are not alone in these struggles. Males account for 5%-10% of anorexia nervosa cases and 10%-15% of bulimia nervosa cases. So why are so many dealing with eating disorders? Is it purely to lose weight and look model thin? Again I admit, I do not know the answer. Yet I wonder if it may have something to do with maintaining control of one’s life. Particularly in youth when much of their lives is predetermined by parents, teachers and other authority figures.

However a person develops any of the conditions mentioned in this article, it is in their best interests for those around them to give their support. These are lifelong struggles to overcome, and not to be taken lightly.


1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Anorexia Nervosa
    Mar 21, 2010 @ 19:59:06

    Wow, I really identified with everything above, I suffered from anorexia for a long time and it affected every part of my life. Thanks for the great info!


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