Prevalence of eating disorders among athletes

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The epidemiology of eating disorders poses a particular challenge to investigators due to problems with case definition, and the tendency of eating-disordered subjects to conceal their illness and avoid professional help.

Estimates of the prevalence of the symptoms of eating disorders and clinical eating disorders among female athletes range from less than 1% to as high as 75% [108,118,119]. The prevalence of anorexia nervosa (2.2%), bulimia nervosa (7.2%) and subclinical eating disorders (10%) are more prevalent among female elite athletes than non-athletes [120]. Furthermore, this study showed that eating disorders are more frequent among female elite athletes competing in aesthetic and weight-class sports than among other sport groups where leanness is considered less important

Only two previous studies on male wrestlers [121,122] have based their results on the diagnostic criteria set forth by the Diagnostic and Statistical

A Recurrent episodes of binge eating.An episode of binge eating is characterized by both of the following: (i) eating, in a discrete period of time (e.g.within any 2-h period), an amount of food that is definitely larger than most people would eat during a similar period of time in similar circumstances; and (ii) a sense of lack of control over eating during the episode (e.g. a feeling that one cannot stop eating or control what or how much one is eating)

B Recurrent inappropriate compensatory behavior in order to prevent weight gain, such as: self-induced vomiting; misuse of laxatives,diuretics or other medications;fasting;or excessive exercise

C The binge-eating and inappropriate compensatory behaviors both occur, on average, at least twice a week for 3 months D Self-evaluation is unduly influenced by body shape and weight

E The disturbance does not occur exclusively during episodes of anorexia nervosa

Specify type:

Purging type:The person regularly engages in self-induced vomiting or the misuse of laxatives, diuretics or enemas Non-purging type:The person uses other inappropriate compensatory behaviors, such as fasting or excessive exercise, but does not regularly engage in self-induced vomiting or the misuse of laxatives, diuretics or enemas

Table 4.6.9 The 'eating disorder not otherwise specified' category.

1 All of the criteria for anorexia nervosa are met except the individual has regular menses.

2 All of the criteria for anorexia nervosa are met except,despite significant weight loss,the individual's current weight is in the normal range.

3 All of the criteria for bulimia nervosa are met except binges occur at a frequency of less than twice a week or for a duration of less than 3 months.

4 An individual of normal body weight regularly engages in inappropriate compensatory behavior after eating small amounts of food (e.g.self-induced vomiting after the consumption of two cookies).

5 An individual who repeatedly chews and spits out,but does not swallow, large amounts of food.

6 Binge-eating disorder:recurrent episodes of binge eating in the absence of inappropriate compensatory behaviors characteristic of bulimia nervosa.

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Fig. 4.6.3 Prevalence of eating disorders in female (n=572) and male (n=687) elite athletes. (None of the female athletes in the power and gravitation sports and none of the male athletes in the aesthetic or power sports met the DSM-IV criteria.) From [120].

Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) [117]. They reported 1.7% and 1.4%, respectively, of male wrestlers with bulimia. A recent Norwegian study reported the prevalence of eating disorders to be as high as 8% among male elite athletes and 0.6% in age-matched controls. As many as 4.0%, 3.5% and 0.4% met the criteria for EDNOS, bulimia nervosa and anorexia nervosa, respectively [ 114,120]. The prevalence of clinical eating disorders in male elite athletes is highest among those competing in weight-class sports and gravitation sports [114].

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Breaking Bulimia

Breaking Bulimia

We have all been there: turning to the refrigerator if feeling lonely or bored or indulging in seconds or thirds if strained. But if you suffer from bulimia, the from time to time urge to overeat is more like an obsession.

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