Athletes' hunger to win fuels eating disorders

Tags: eating disorders, disordered eating, performance, B. Timothy Walsh, athletic performance, Soldati, Nanci Hellmich, sports nutritionist, eating disorder, athlete, sports nutrition, wreaking havoc, professor of psychiatry, Ron Thompson, Indiana University, National Collegiate Athletic Association, Leslie Bonci, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, Lisa Dorfman, sports medicine, bulimia, basketball Women's basketball, home Fantasy, Pro Basketball, Kimiko Soldati, Fantasy Statistics Schedules Colleges Football Men, Statistics Schedules Pro Basketball Pro Basketball, college athletes, anxiety disorders, bulimia nervosa, Jenny Moshak, athletic talent, anorexia nervosa, Adam Soldati, academic demands, competitions
Content: - Athletes' hunger to win fuels eating disorders
02/06/2006 06:29 PM
Home News Travel Money Sports Life Tech Weather Search Baseball Baseball home Fantasy AL briefs NL briefs Box scores Statistics Schedules Pro Football Pro Football home Fantasy Team reports Statistics Schedules Pro Basketball Pro Basketball home Fantasy Pro Basketball briefs Statistics Schedules WNBA Hockey Hockey home Fantasy Statistics Schedules Colleges Football Men's basketball Women's basketbAll Other sports Polls High Schools High schools home
Posted 2/5/2006 9:59 PM Updated 2/5/2006 11:19 PM Athletes' hunger to win fuels eating disorders By Nanci Hellmich, USA TODAY Kimiko Hirai Soldati, a 2004 Olympic diver, remembers exactly when her bulimia started. Kimiko Soldati celebrates during the 2004 Olympic Team Trials in St. Peter's, Mo.
RELATED STORIES Women in crisis Hunger to win fuels eating disorders Tennis no match for bulimia Surfacing from depression Women face 'triad' of danger
Related Advertiser Links
What's this?
· Mortgage Rates Hit Record Lows
· 2.75% Fixed Student Loan Consolidation
· Mortgage Rates as Low as 2.9%
Tom Gannam, AP She was transferring from Colorado State to Indiana University, and one day she felt she had eaten too much. "The idea popped into my head that I could get rid of this," she says.
· $150,000 Mortgage for $483/Month
And so she threw up.
What's this?
That set her on a desperate course. At one point, she says, she was "purging pretty much everything I ate. I was so obsessed about calories that I didn't want to chew gum because there are 5 calories in a stick." She struggled secretly with bulimia for 1Ѕ years, feeling "shameful and embarrassed" about what she was doing, before she sought out a psychologist who specialized in eating disorders. "When I finally did seek help, I felt like I had a blinking neon sign on my forehead that said 'bulimic, bulimic, bulimic,' and that's all people would see."
Buy and sell tickets to premium and sold out events Search by events or regions: Location Select a region Genre Select a sport
Disordered eating -- reported by one-third of female athletes in Ticket holders: college -- is just one element in a spectrum of health problems Looking to sell tickets quick? Register now. many confront, studies show. Despite the opportunities that have opened up to women since Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 banned sex discrimination in schools that receive federal money, universities report that an increasing number of these
Page 1 of 5 - Athletes' hunger to win fuels eating disorders
High schools home Football scores Other sports Boxing Cycling Golf Horse racing Motor sports Olympics Soccer Tennis Travel Ski Guide Tools Game matchups Sheridan's odds Live odds Sagarin ratings Salaries databases Indexes Scores Columnist index Sports briefs TV listings Sports index Transactions Marketplace Arcade Baseball Tickets NASCAR Tickets Basketball Tickets Shopping Newspaper Classifieds
competitors are suffering from depression and anxiety disorders. They struggle to juggle practices, competitions and academic demands. Some are so overwhelmed that, despite their athletic talent, they drop their sports or even drop out of college. There are extreme cases of anorexia and suicide even among elite athletes. "It would be hard to find a female athlete in the aesthetic sports -- gymnastics, diving, cheerleading, figure skating, dancing -- who isn't preoccupied with body image and somewhat obsessive about what she is eating," says Soldati, 31, who is married to Purdue diving coach Adam Soldati. They have a 3-month-old baby. Since her recovery, she has spoken to hundreds of women who have troubling eating patterns, which includes dieting constantly, abusing laxatives, taking diet pills or occasionally binge eating and purging by means that include vomiting. Or they may have more serious eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa, characterized by self-starvation, or bulimia nervosa, frequent binging and purging. "Athletes are driven personalities, completely focused as people pleasers, almost obsessive-compulsive," says Jenny Moshak, assistant athletics director for sports medicine at the University of Tennessee, which has led the way in offering counseling as part of its sports programs. "People who have addictive tendencies gravitate toward athletics." Those obsessions can go far beyond the playing fields. Anorexia and bulimia are psychiatric illnesses, but they often coexist with other emotional problems, such as anxiety and depression, says B. Timothy Walsh, a professor of psychiatry at New York Psychiatric Institute/Columbia University and author of If Your Adolescent Has an Eating Disorder. For some, the eating disorder is triggered by an emotional problem, Walsh says; but for others, the disorder seems to develop on its own without other significant psychological factors. Sobering numbers At least one-third of female athletes have some type of disordered eating, according to two studies of college athletes done by eating disorder experts, one in 1999 by Craig Johnson of the Laureate Psychiatric Clinic and Hospital in Tulsa and another in 2002 by Katherine Beals, now at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City.
In the 2002 study of 425 female college athletes, 43% said they were terrified of being or becoming too heavy, and 55% reported experiencing pressure to achieve or maintain a certain weight. Most said the pressure was self-imposed, but many also felt pressure from coaches and teammates.
Disordered eating is probably much more pervasive than people realize, says registered dietitian Ann Litt, author of Eating Well on Campus and Fuel for Young Athletes. "You can't tell by looking at women that they are suffering with this, and many women fade in and out of it. Sometimes it rears its ugly head when they are going through some rough times in their lives."
Says Leslie Bonci, director of sports nutrition at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center: "This is a tough topic to talk about, but it's not going away, and it's wreaking havoc on campuses."
Psychologist Ron Thompson, who consults with Indiana University's athletic department and the National Collegiate Athletic Association, counseled Soldati. "It is a problem at all colleges, although it may be a little more of a problem at Division I than Division II and III," he says.
'Horrific' eating patterns
About 2% to 3% of female college
02/06/2006 06:29 PM Page 2 of 5 - Athletes' hunger to win fuels eating disorders
ANSWERS Researchers aren't sure why some athletes cross the line from dieting and excessive exercise to serious, diagnosable eating disorders. They believe a combination of genetic, social and environmental factors come into play. "If someone is starving, excessively exercising or using purging behaviors, then we know they are in a high-risk place for turning on the psychiatric illnesses," says psychologist Craig Johnson, an eating disorders expert at Laureate Psychiatric Clinic and Hospital in Tulsa. Scientists are looking into how genetics and brain chemicals like serotonin are involved in eating disorders, but much of that research is in its infancy, says B. Timothy Walsh, a professor of psychiatry at New York Psychiatric Institute/Columbia University. "The brain is so complicated and our methods of assessing what's going on in the brain are so limited that we are just now starting to get some hints of what might be wrong."
athletes have full-fledged, diagnosable eating disorders, about the same as the general population, according to several studies. There have been high-profile cases like Christy Henrich, the former world-class gymnast who had anorexia and died at age 22 in 1994 from multipleorgan failure. She weighed less than 50 pounds. Bonci recently received a desperate call from a college coach in Pennsylvania. He wanted her to come talk about the importance of healthy eating to his team of female cross-country runners because they were competing with each other at dinner to see who could eat the least. "Some of the girls who were running 70 miles a week were eating only one baby carrot at a meal," Bonci says. "That was it. It was horrific."
Prescription medications used to treat
Another time, she worked with a female
depression, such as Prozac, are useful in treating bulimia, a binge-and-purge disorder, Walsh says. But, he adds, medications have not been helpful in treating anorexia, marked by self-starvation. "It's a real mystery."
college soccer player who would go to team practice for three hours a day and then would go over to the fitness center and spend another three hours on the
Walter Kaye, a professor of psychiatry at the
University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine who is studying the brain chemistry of eating disorders, says antidepressants can be used to prevent a relapse in recovering anorexics.
"An athlete with disordered eating doesn't see food as fuel that helps build her body but as calories and fat. In their
By Nanci Hellmich
world, food has become a four-letter word," says registered dietitian Lisa
Dorfman, the sports nutritionist for the
University of Miami. "When they start asking if ketchup has sugar in it, I know we
are in trouble."
People with disordered eating are not comfortable with their bodies, Dorfman says. "They may be self-conscious about how they look in their uniforms. They may be pinching their thighs. They don't want their belly to show. They may look at other people on the team and compare themselves."
Bonci agrees. "They look at the bodies on the cover of Glamour and Shape magazines and think those bodies are better than theirs."
The 'thin-build' sports
Female athletes who seem especially vulnerable to disordered eating and excessive exercise are in either the "thin-build sports" or activities that require a lean body weight, such as long-distance running, gymnastics, swimming, diving, figure skating, dance, cheerleading, wrestling and lightweight rowing, says Beals, author of Disordered Eating Among Athletes.
Athletes may start dieting to enhance their athletic performance, and the goal is what some experts call "performance thinness."
A cross-country runner may want to lose weight so she's lighter and faster, Beals says. A gymnast may want to lose weight because she thinks the judges are looking at her size and shape and that her scores will improve if she's leaner. This may be partially true, at least in the short term.
02/06/2006 06:29 PM
Page 3 of 5 - Athletes' hunger to win fuels eating disorders
02/06/2006 06:29 PM
Performance may improve with weight loss initially, but eventually the caloric restriction or purging habits take a toll on the athlete's nutritional condition and subsequently her performance, Beals says. Often this drive for thinness begins in high school and sometimes even younger, she says. Soldati says it's no wonder some female athletes have body image problems. As they're developing and becoming women, they're out there in "nothing but a skimpy little Speedo or leotard." Sometimes the dieting begins because a coach mentions their weight. Girls and Young Women tend to remember "absolutely everything a coach ever said to them," Soldati says. Coach: 'Don't get fat' When Soldati was on the gymnastics and diving teams in high school, one of her coaches jokingly told her she was "getting big." Another time when she asked a college coach what she could do over the summer to improve her diving, he said, "Don't get fat." The pressure to perform and look good is much greater in college than high school, she says. "Your scholarship may be on the line or you may want to get a scholarship. Or you may want to be the starter on your team or be taken to the meets. Being a female in this culture, it's hard to have a normal relationship with food, and on top of that almost every athlete in the aesthetic sports has to watch what she eats. It's hard not to cross over and become obsessive." In fact, Soldati says, the same Personality traits that made her excel at diving became a liability when it came to her body and eating habits. "I was a perfectionist, people pleaser, control freak. I was a high achiever and had a high pain threshold. There's a fine line between dedication and obsession. I thought if one hour of cardio is good, then five hours must be great." A sport like diving doesn't use a lot of calories, she says, but athletes are expected to look a certain way, so "it's hard to really enjoy food." Soldati isn't sure whether the eating disorder affected her performance, but it did take a toll on her emotionally. "I felt so horrible about myself. Here I was, a supposedly amazing athlete with a 4.0 (grade point average) and doing all these amazing things, and yet I couldn't stop throwing up." She says many girls with disordered eating and their mothers have contacted her through her website, "I've had girls tell me that I'm the only person who knows that they have an eating disorder. I can point them in a direction and tell them where to get help. I let them know they are not alone because it is such a secretive disorder."
Contributing: Andy Gardiner Related advertising links What's this?
Mortgage Rates Hit Record Lows Compare fast and free mortgage...
2.75% Fixed Student Loan Consolidation Lock rates as low as 2.75%. Fixed lowe...
Mortgage Rates as Low as 2.9% Up to 4 free offers! Compare and...
Subscribe Today: Home Delivery of USA TODAY - Save 35%
Page 4 of 5 - Athletes' hunger to win fuels eating disorders
02/06/2006 06:29 PM partners: USA Weekend Sports Weekly Education Home Travel News Money Sports Life Tech Weather Resources: Mobile news Site map FAQ Contact us E-mail news Jobs with us Internships Terms of service Privacy Policy Media kit Press room Electronic print edition Reprints and Permissions Add RSS feeds © Copyright 2006 USA TODAY, a division of Gannett Co. Inc.
Page 5 of 5

File: athletes-hunger-to-win-fuels-eating-disorders.pdf
Title: - Athletes' hunger to win fuels eating disorders
Author: David Andrews
Published: Mon Feb 6 18:29:19 2006
Pages: 5
File size: 0.18 Mb

, pages, 0 Mb

, pages, 0 Mb

2018 Ministry Guide, 15 pages, 0.23 Mb

Archive, 27 pages, 0.94 Mb
Copyright © 2018