Eating behaviors and weight control techniques among female collegiate athletes

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Silver, Lorraine P.
Amschler, Denise H.
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Thesis (M.S.)
Department of Physiology and Health Science
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The purpose of this study was to examine the prevalence of abnormal eating behaviors and weight control techniques in female collegiate varsity athletes at Ball State University. A modified version of the The Michigan State University (MSU) Weight Control Survey was the instrument which was used to survey the athletes. Data were collected from 79 athletes, who represented six sports (field hockey, gymnastics, softball, tennis, track & field, and volleyball). The mean age of subjects was 20.0 years. Multivariate tests of significance were conducted to see whether or not there were any statistical differences among athletes according to their sport participation. Height was the only variable that revealed statistical significance (p=.002). Body Mass Index (BMI) showed that 63 (80.7%) athletes fell into the desirable range of 19-24 for person's aged 19 through 24 years. A total of 49 (63.0%) athletes reported that they had attempted to lose weight during the preceding year. Approximately 80% of respondents believed diet pills, vomiting, laxatives, diuretic pills, fasting and drinking less fluids to be dangerous weight loss methods. Eating fewer snacks, exercising more, and counting fat grams were the most common methods of weight control that had been tried. Thirteen athletes reported that they had used at least one (fasting, vomiting, laxatives, diet pills, syrup of ipecac, and/or drinking less fluids) harmful method to control body weight.