Cara E. Kilgallen, Ph.D.
American Sports Stories
Original Publication Date
December 8, 2018
Eating disorders have become more prevalent in recent years as societal standards have gotten harsher. Typically, when people think about the type of people who develop eating disorders, the first thing that pops into their head is not athletes. There is an association between athletes and the need for great amounts of food to fuel their bodies. However, in sports such as wrestling and aesthetic sports, like gymnastics and figure skating, the emphasis of image and the pressure from their coaches can be extremely harmful to their mental health. This paper discusses specific statistics of the incidence of eating disorders in various sports, but mainly focuses on figure skating, gymnastics, and wrestling. The claim that the main driving force of eating disorders in these athletes is their coach’s comments is disputed. Rather, these disorders are caused by an internal struggle that is enhanced due to societal expectations and standards. I chose this topic because since I am going into nursing, I will have to treat many different patients with a wide range of disorders. Knowing the risk factors for these diseases and what type of living and training conditions cause these toxic thoughts and actions can help in the early detection and treatment of these diseases. In the future, health professionals, as well as the general public, should put more of an emphasis on acceptance of different body types and the prevention of eating disorders with the intention of saving many individuals from suffering.
Nitzsche, Genevieve, "Pressure to be Perfect: Eating Disorders in Sports" (2019). Writing Across the Curriculum. 47.
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