There are many scientific papers about eating disorders, possible treatments and possible risk factors. Due to the fact that, for many people with eating disorders, body image, dieting and over exercising is part of their everyday lives, the focus in this study is on sportswomen- and men.(1) In addition, the worldwide prevalence of eating disorders among athletes, 0-19% for men, and 6-45% for women, is higher than the prevalence within the general population.(1) The focus of this study however, lies on the Dutch population. According to the Trimbos Institute, the presence of an eating disorder at some point in time for Dutch civilians is 0.7%.(2) However, no specific prevalence numbers are available for the Dutch athlete population.
The development and existence of some kind of eating disorder is harmful for body functions and mental health; a lack of energy availability, menstrual dysfunction, persisting psychological distress and even death.(3)There is a lot of discrepancy within literature whether an active sports-life can protect people from developing an eating disorder, or that the practice of (different types of) sports increase the risk of having this serious condition. (4) Besides, eating disorders among athletes can be more veiled because they do not necessarily fit the standards for people with an eating disorder.(5)
Different types of eating disorders can be distinguished according to the DSM V(6) which are stated here below:
“Anorexia nervosa, which primarily affects adolescent girls and young women, is characterized by distorted body image and excessive dieting that leads to severe weight loss with a pathological fear of becoming fat. The criteria have several minor but important changes: Criterion A focuses on behaviors, like restricting calorie intake, and no longer includes the word “refusal” in terms of weight maintenance since that implies intention on the part of the patient and can be difficult to assess. The DSM-IV Criterion D requiring amenorrhea, or the absence of at least three menstrual cycles, will be deleted. This criterion cannot be applied to males, pre-menarchal females, females taking oral contraceptives and post-menopausal females. In some cases, individuals exhibit all other symptoms and signs of anorexia nervosa but still report some menstrual activity.”
Binge eating Disorder:
“Binge eating disorder is defined as recurring episodes of eating significantly more food in a short period of time than most people would eat under similar circumstances, with episodes marked by feelings of lack of control. Someone with binge eating disorder may eat too quickly, even when he or she is not hungry. The person may have feelings of guilt, embarrassment, or disgust and may binge eat alone to hide the behavior. This disorder is associated with marked distress and occurs, on average, at least once a week over three months.”
“Bulimia nervosa is characterized by frequent...