Body Image, Anthropometric Measures, And Eating-Disorder Prevalence in Auxiliary Unit Members (Original Research) (Report) - Journal of Athletic Training

Body Image, Anthropometric Measures, And Eating-Disorder Prevalence in Auxiliary Unit Members (Original Research) (Report)

By Journal of Athletic Training

  • Release Date: 2009-07-01
  • Genre: Sports & Outdoors
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Involvement in organized sports or dance can offer many benefits, such as improved self-esteem and encouragement for individuals to remain active throughout their lives. Athletic competition or dance, however, may cause severe psychological and physical stress. When pressures are added to an existing cultural emphasis on thinness, the risks may increase for athletes and dancers to develop eating disorders. In the largest US study (1) to date of collegiate athletes (883 men, 562 women) at 11 National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I schools, only a small percentage of female athletes (l.1%) met the diagnostic criteria for clinical eating disorders, but a large percentage (9.2%-58%) demonstrated disordered-eating behaviors. Athletes with eating disorders may strive for thinness to improve performance and to detect their level of fitness (eg, they mistakenly perceive loss of menstrual cycle as an indicator of a good fitness level); however, dance teams may focus on body weight and body image criteria for admission to the team. As a result, dancers may receive the message that weight and appearance matter more than athletic ability. Koutedaki and Jamurtas (2) recognized dancers as performing athletes. Yet dancers may not be included in the population traditionally considered athletes. Success and appearance in athletics and dance may require a particular physique, especially a lean, sometimes virtually prepubescent, look. Consequently, coaches, peers, and parents may pressure the athlete to be thin. (3,4) In addition, demanding performance schedules and difficult choreography make a dancer's fitness and skill development important. In females, these physical demands and self-imposed expectations may lead to concerns regarding energy availability, menstrual function, and optimal bone health, also known as the female athletic triad.

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