Many female athletes do not meat the strict criteria for the diagnosis of anorexia nervosa or bulimia nervosa, but can manifest similar disordered eating behaviours that are part of the female athlete triad.
Disorders of eating impairs sports performance and increases risk for injury.
Female athletes tend to have an increased body image awareness more prone to body image concerns can be promoted by coaches and parents/peers.
Elite athletes often have personality traits associated with disordered eating – including high achievement expectations of themselves, compulsiveness and being perfectionists.
32% of collegiate level female athletes have been reported as carry out a weight control behaviour that could be considered pathologic – the authors considered that most of the behaviours would have impaired athletic performance.
Indicators of disordered eating:
Preoccupied with food and weight; increasing criticism of their own body; use of laxatives; frequently eat alone; anxiety at meal times; trips to bathroom during and following meals; compulsive excessive exercise; always feel cold; fatigue; abdominal pain; amenorrhoea; wears ‘baggy’ clothing.