Effects of Disordered Eating on Health and Performance

The effects of disordered eating on an athlete's performance vary, but largely depend on the severity and chronicity of the disordered eating behaviors and the physiologic demands of the sport [18]. An athlete who engages in severe energy restriction or who has been bingeing and purging for a long time is likely to experience a greater decrease in performance than one who has engaged in milder weight control behaviors for a shorter time. Likewise, athletes involved in endurance sports and other physical activities with high energy demands (eg, distance running, swimming, cycling, basketball, field hockey, and ice hockey) are likely to be more negatively affected than athletes involved in sports with lower energy demands (eg, diving, gymnastics, weightlifting). The potential consequences of disordered eating on health and performance are presented in Table 3.

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