Skip to Content

Eating Disorders and Athletes – What Binds Them Together

Have you ever wondered why athletes are more prone to develop eating disorders compared to ordinary people? In general, athletes endure more pressure in the sports environment than non-athletic people. For them, exercising a lot and going on a restricted diet are seen as acceptable practices. Also, they have a high concern for body size and shape, because of the notion that these affect the performance of an athlete. Moreover, there is an increased pressure from coaches and other athletic peers to stay thin. Discipline is also a factor, since this value is instilled in the hearts and minds of every athlete. Sports require discipline, and controlling weight is one of the aspects where athletes can apply this discipline. Unfortunately however, this stringent discipline, as well as the obsession to remain thin, can lead to the development of certain eating disorders, most especially anorexia nervosa and bulimia. The most common athletes that are prone to eating disorders include gymnasts, runners, divers, and figure skaters, since body size is an important factor in their sport.