Significant problems with eating disorders were identified in female athletes and several of them were deemed to be at risk for anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa. More specifically, the prevalence of eating disorder risk has been found in aesthetic sports and those in weight-restricted sports. In rhythmic gymnastics success is strongly influenced by visual appeal, and body aesthetic appearance, and leanness have particular relevance both in performance and appearance the combination of excessive exercise, reduced food intake, and the high level of stress in training and competition, determine a lean, almost anorexic-like physique of elite rhythmic gymnasts. The technical team pressure, put on athletes, in order to maintain weight levels, is an important risk factor. In addition, the lack of medical control and coach organization, especially on sub-elite gymnasts, may be a further important risk factor, and the special clothing, used during competitions, can even whet the problem of weight control. Previous studies conducted on international level gymnasts and sub elite Italian gymnasts stated that dietary intake was relatively low in calories but had a correct distribution of daily energy intake among the macronutrients, an high intake of vitamin A, and fibres. Reviewing the pertinent literature, we may deduce that the elite rhythmic gymnasts did not present problems related to attitudinal aspects of anorexia nervosa. Bacner-Melman et al. demonstrated that aesthetical athletes appear to enjoy excellent psychological health. Klinkowski et al. relieved that the rhythmic gymnasts showed a âlean, almost anorexic-like physiqueâ but no psychological distress, comparing to anorexic patients of the same age.
Paolo Borrione, No Risk of Anorexia Nervosa in Young Rhythmic Gymnasts: What are the Practical Implications of what is Already Know?
Last date updated on June, 2014