Eating disorders more common among sportswomen

July 29th, 2008 - 5:27 pm ICT by IANS  

Washington, July 29 (IANS) Undergraduate women who exercised regularly or took part in sports experienced eating disorders more frequently than non-exercising women. A recent study conducted among 274 women undergraduates from a large university in south-eastern US examined whether differences in eating disorder symptoms exist between women who are varsity athletes, club athletes, independent exercisers and non-exercisers.

All participants completed the Eating Disorders Inventory, a self-report measuring eating related behaviours and attitudes; the Rosenberg Self Esteem Scale, a measurement tool used to evaluate self-esteem; and the Physical Activity and Sport Anxiety Scale, a questionnaire used to assess social fear and avoidance of physical activity or athletic situations.

The data suggested that coaches and competitive athletes should be on the lookout for sports-related anxiety as they were likely to be at a higher risk for eating disorder symptoms in comparison to women who are not involved in competitive athletics.

“As women’s participation in athletics increases, so too does the need for awareness of the link between eating disorders and sports participation among women, said Jill Holm-Denoma of the University of Denver, co-author of the study.

These findings have been published in the International Journal of Eating Disorders.

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