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Young Athletes and Eating Disorders: What’s the Connection?

February 13, 2018

Young Athletes and Eating Disorders: What’s the Connection?

Athletes participating in competitive sports can develop eating disorders. Read on to discover how.

The benefits of competitive sports participation are obvious.  At any age, sports promote physical health, leadership and teamwork skills, and positive self-esteem.  Despite the great benefits offered by competitive sports, there is a potential downside. Young athletes who happen to be part of a team that heavily focuses on performance or appearance may develop an eating disorder.


Eating Disorders: A Brief Overview

An eating disorder is a condition described as an unhealthy obsession with food, appearance, and weight. A few of the common eating disorders are:

  • Bulimia Nervosa – Individuals with this disorder have repeated episodes of binge eating, followed by purging often due to the feeling of extreme guilt. The purging may consist of laxative or diuretic abuse or self-induced vomiting. Individuals may also attempt to compensate for the binge eating by fasting or over-exercising.
  • Anorexia Nervosa – People with anorexia nervosa have an unusually low body weight, a distorted perception of their body image, and a strong fear of gaining weight. They often place so much value on r

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