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Eating Disorders And The Athlete

We hear about the prevalence of eating disorders in the fashion industry and Hollywood. What is less well known is its prevalence in professional sports. Athletes operate under enormous pressure to fit a physical ideal and to constantly perform at their best. Because of this, professional athletes are three times more likely to develop an eating disorder than the average person (Bowers, n.d.).

The two most common eating disorders are anorexia and bulimia. People afflicted with anorexia restrict their intake of food in an effort to meet their ideal weight. Many do this to the point of starvation. In bulimia, the afflicted person goes through a cycle of bingeing and purging. The person will binge on a large amount of food in a short period of time, then eradicate what they’ve eaten through self-induced vomiting or other means. This cycle is usually followed by feelings of guilt, shame and remorse.

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