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How Coaches Inspire Eating Disorders

Reports indicate that athletes are six times more likely to develop eating disorders than are other women. How coaches contribute to the problem; Low calorie intake; Strenuous exercise; Too little energy; Goal for a model program of workshops to teach coaches how to spot and improve poor eating habits.

Performance Pressures

Athletes are six times more likely to develop eating disorders like anorexia and bulimoa. How are coaches contributing to the unhealthy eating behaviors?Different types of eating disorders spread through the culture because of social pressure from many sources. But for young women who play sports, the chief agent in transmitting the disease may very well be their boss--the coach. Athletes are six times more likely to develop eating disorders than are other women, reports Virginia Overdorf, Ed.D., a professor of movement science at William Paterson College in Wayne, New Jersey. She believes that coaches unwittingly contribute to the problem by extolling the virtues of weight loss to improve performance.

Athletes commonly consume as few as 600 calories a day--but spend far more on strenuous exercise. This not only leaves them with too little energy to perform well, it endangers their bodies.

Ovendorf plans to give coaches in four school systems self-rating surveys and quizzes to find out how much they know about eating disorders. Or rather, how much they don't know. The goal: a model program of workshops to teach coaches how to spot and improve poor eating patterns.

Overdorf plans to kick off the workshops this spring. She wants coaches to know that taking on eating disorders in athletes is a team effort, that professional counseling is needed for the underlying psychological disorder, and that parents need to be made aware of the problem.

Hopefully, by the end of her spring training, she'll have the coaches on the right track.

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APA Reference
Gluck, S. (2009, January 15). How Coaches Inspire Eating Disorders, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2021, May 10 from https://www.healthyplace.com/eating-disorders/articles/how-coaches-inspire-eating-disorders

Last Updated: January 14, 2014

Medically reviewed by Harry Croft, MD

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