Differences in attitudes, behaviours and beliefs towards eating between female bodybuilding athletes and non-athletes, and the implications for eating disorders and disordered eating

Money-Taylor, Eleanor and Dobbin, Nick and Gregg, Rebecca and Matthews, Joseph J. and Esen, Ozcan (2021) Differences in attitudes, behaviours and beliefs towards eating between female bodybuilding athletes and non-athletes, and the implications for eating disorders and disordered eating. Sport Sciences for Health. ISSN 1824-7490

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Abstract

Background
Female athletes participating in sports emphasising aesthetics are potentially more prone to developing disordered eating (DE) and eating disorders (EDs) than non-athletes, males, and those participating in sports with less emphasis on leanness. Despite this, female bodybuilding athletes have received little attention.

Aim
To investigate differences in eating attitudes, behaviours and beliefs in female bodybuilding athletes and a non-athlete group.
Methods

A cross-sectional study design was used with the eating attitude test-26 (EAT-26) distributed to 75 women (49.3% bodybuilding athletes; 50.7% non-athletes) and the female athlete screening tool (FAST) distributed to the female bodybuilding group only.

Results
Demographic characteristics revealed no significant difference in age, stature or body mass index (P = 0.106 to 0.173), though differences in body mass were evident (P = 0.0001 to 0.042). Bodybuilding athletes scored significantly higher (P = 0.001) than non-athletes on the EAT-26 questionnaire, with significantly more athletes (56.8%) being labelled as ‘at risk’ of an ED than non-athletes (23.7%, P = 0.001). Responses to the FAST questionnaire indicated female bodybuilding athletes have high preoccupation with their body mass; engage in exercise to alter their body mass; and disclosed negative perceptions of themselves.

Conclusion
In all, female bodybuilding athletes demonstrate behaviours associated with DE and EDs as well as a preoccupation with nutrition intake, exercise, and strategies to alter their appearance. These findings have important implications for those managing female bodybuilding athletes such as strength and conditioning coaches, athletic trainers, nutritionist and dietitians with respect to detecting DE and EDs as well as minimising the risk factors.

Item Type: Article
Identification Number: https://doi.org/10.1007/s11332-021-00775-2
Date: 21 May 2021
Uncontrolled Keywords: Aesthetic sports Eating Body building Health Nutrition intake
Subjects: C600 Sports Science
Divisions: Faculty of Health, Education and Life Sciences > School of Health Sciences
Depositing User: Gemma Tonks
Date Deposited: 11 Jun 2021 12:46
Last Modified: 11 Jun 2021 12:46
URI: http://www.open-access.bcu.ac.uk/id/eprint/11767

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