Eating disorders are not just a female problem. Eight percent of elite male athletes in Norway suffer from some type of eating disorder, according to research just completed by two masters students at the Norwegian University of Sport in Oslo.
Over 900 national class male athletes participated in the study, making it the largest, and perhaps only, national study of eating disorders among elite male athletes. Included among those who reported suffering from eating disorders were international gold medalists in Olympic, World Championship and World Cup events. Laxatives, diuretics, and diet pills are just some of the preparations that athletes reported using to reduce or control weight.
In the sports of boxing, karate, wrestling and judo, 82% of the athletes had used these extraordinary weight control methods. Sixteen percent of athletes in rock climbing and ski jumping had symptoms of eating disorders, according to project leader Jorunn Sundgot Borgen. Least affected among the elite were athletes in team sports (soccer, handball).
Contributed by Stephen Seiler, translated from a report written in the Norwegian newspaper Verdens Gang.