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"Medicina Sportiva" No.14 - 2008 The 15-th Sports Medicine Balkan Congress


1Jaliu Bogdana, 2Jaliu Bogdan, 3Danielle Davis,
1Argosy University-Dallas, TX USA,
2J. P. S. Orthopedic and Sports Medicine Center-Fort Worth, TX USA,
3Argosy University-Dallas, TX USA

INTRODUCTION. Eating disorders are potentially life-threatening ailments, characterized by severely disturbed patterns of eating behavior. According to DSM-IV, eating disorders include: Anorexia Nervosa, Bulimia Nervosa and The Eating Disorder Not Otherwise Specified category.
Objective: The purpose of this project is to examine eating disorders in athletes, using meta-analysis.
METHOD. Data from 21 studies were used to examine the overall relationship between eating disorders, athletes, gender, age groups, and specific sports and performance.
RESULTS. Statistics show that in the USA, 63 % of female athletes develop symptoms of eating disorders. The prevalence of eating disorder in the USA, in the general population, is approx 1.84%. Certain sports seem to induce an increased risk of eating problems (e.g. swimming, aesthetic, and weight dependent sports). Recent studies report few cases involving men, that are implicated in wrestling, track and field, gymnastics.
CONCLUSION. Eating disorders are seen much more frequently in athletes than in non-athletes. Most frequently eating disorders are developed during adolescence, but some reports indicate their onset can occur during childhood or later in adulthood. Eating disorders are not due to a failure of will. They are real medical illnesses characterized by maladaptive patterns of eating. Both, athletes and non-athletes seem to have the same psychological profiles of eating disorders. Although socio-cultural explanations are relevant, anorexia nervosa and bulimia are perhaps better regarded as complex heterogeneous disorders with multifactorial etiology, involving the interaction of genes, environment, family background, particular social factors and certain psychological features, such as: desire to win approval of others, getting attention behavior, perfectionism, self-criticism.
KEY WORDS: athletes, eating disorder, meta-analysis.

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