Food Phobia

12 12 2009

Last week in my technical writing class, this girl gave a presentation on eating disorders among college gymnasts. College gymnasts suffer from higher rates of eating disorders due to coach pressures, weigh-ins, and performance factors. She showed an interesting video on Bela Karolyi, a famous coach, and the standards he holds his gymnasts to. As a gymnast at BYU, the girl in my class discussed her battle with eating disorders. She said student athletes constantly feel pressure to maintain that “target weight” by eating chicken and vegetables. Food becomes a fear, rather than a pleasure. Eating disorders among college athletes are also influenced by other mental illnesses like anxiety and depression. Combating eating disorders on college campuses requires changes from both coaches and athletes.

Eating disorders, like anorexia, are the top mental illnesses that lead to death. Anorexia is characterized by a resistance to maintaining  a healthy body weight, an intense fear of gaining weight, and a distortion of body image.  College girls are especially at risk for anorexia due to age, gender, media, and social influences. Symptoms of anorexia include thinning of bones, brittle hair and nails, dry and yellowish skin, growth of fine hair over the body, mild anemia, constipation, low blood pressure, and drop in body temperature. The social pressures in college to be thin, fit, and beautiful prompt thousands of girls to resort to unhealthy weight loss methods. Be aware of those around you. Make sure your friends try to lose weight in a healthy and safe way. Positive peer influence can make a difference; however, serious anorexia requires medical treatment.



One response

24 01 2015

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