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Interdisciplinary Health Programs
Eating Disorders (EDs) are serious psychological disorders that can have a significant negative impact on physical and mental health. Male collegiate athletes are more susceptible than non-athletes to developing EDs, with a prevalence of 1.2% to 50% and a weighted mean prevalence of 18.8%. Signs and symptoms of EDs include a mistaken sense of body size and shape, limiting their calorie intake, skipping meals, practicing fasting or excessive diets, partaking in episodes of binge eating, resorting to self-inflicted vomiting, laxative use, or excessive exercise, and obsessed with food and weight for extended periods of time. It is important to get medical assistance as soon as possible if someone is displaying symptoms of an eating disorder. Wrestlers are more susceptible than other sports to experiencing EDs, with a rate of 42% reporting disordered eating practices compared to 9% of non-wrestlers. The prevalence of EDs among male track and field athletes is high due to the pressure to lose weight and maintain a certain body fat percentage. Additionally, male American football players may feel pressure to gain weight while maintaining a particular body fat percentage, and the pressures of practice and competition may accelerate the development of an eating disorder. Treatment of the underlying causes should be the primary goal of therapy, and prevention strategies must consider the sports culture and desire to adhere to specific body ideals. To better understand the causes and effects of EDs in male athletes, additional research is needed. Sports dietitians, coaches, athletic trainers, and other members of the athletic community must be aware of the warning signs and symptoms of EDs to support male athletes.
Huggett, Alicia, "Prevalence and impact of eating disorders within male collegiate athletes." (2023). Honors Theses. 3682.