Junkfood Science: “The fat group”

March 04, 2007

“The fat group”

The Salt Lake Tribune’s Special Report is an in-depth examination of the pressures for a perfect body and eating disorders among gymnastics. They also look at what’s changed over the past decade as awareness has increased. Parents of young girls entering gymnastics and healthcare professionals may find this Special worthwhile reading. Lya Wodraska writes:

Balancing the diet: Eating disorders & gymnastics

Though many college gymnastics teams have lightened up their policies on pounds, athletes still feel pressure to strive for the perfect body

...Scheduled weigh-ins, random weigh-ins, they all blurred together. And each gymnast's weight was posted on a board for everyone to see....That was then.... Much has changed since Eaton's competitive years; many college teams, including Utah, have done away with mandatory weigh-ins as the quest to be thin has been replaced by the quest to be fit.

Still, the subject of weight is a hefty issue to address and one that's often still hidden away in the closet. Am I fat? Am I too thin? What is my right weight? Do I need to look like the model on the magazine? Virtually every female, and likely every male, has asked at some point. Imagine the additional pressures gymnasts face, though, putting on a leotard and performing in front of thousands of people, and working out in front of coaches without concern over what they think of you.

"Sometimes it's not easy," freshman Annie DiLuzio says. "Sometimes there are days when you feel so fat," Ford says. "Then there are times when you are a pound lighter, and you think 'Wow, how would I feel if I lost five pounds?' That's when eating disorders can happen."

Recent studies have shown....

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