The passion of bodybuilding athletes for a symmetric, lean, heavily muscled body leads them to carry out exhausting exercise programs and restrictive eating regimens, sometimes resulting in disordered eating behaviors. This study investigates potential exacerbators on the development of disordered eating in bodybuilding and strength athletes. The study involved 103 Cypriot bodybuilding athletes of both sexes, performing at three levels: professional, recreational and strength athletes. The Eating Attitude Test 26 (EAT-26) and The Three Factor Eating Questionnaire (TFEQ-R21) were used to evaluate disordered eating and eating behaviors respectively. The current study was performed under the auspices of the Hellenic Center of Education & Treatment of Eating Disorders (KEADD). The degree of deviation between the perceived ideal body weight and the actual body weight was associated with increased risk of eating disorder. Athletes who desired a lower body weight recorded higher scores on EAT-26 overall, and the subscales of dieting and bulimia. Cognitive restraint and emotional eating scales of TFEQ-R21 were more pronounced in the non-professional athletes. The emotional eating score was higher in women. There is a need for appropriate sport-specific, gender-specific preventive intervention to deescalate the risk of eating disorder, in both professional and non-professional bodybuilding athletes.
Athletes; eating disorders; weight loss; body dissatisfaction; body image disorders
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