The risk factors for eating disorders in high school track athletes
Anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and eating disorder not otherwise specified are identified as three of the most common eating disorders found in the athletic population. The purpose of this study was twofold and sought to assess (1) athletes' risk of acquiring eating disorders in high school female track athletes and (2) whether educating athletes on positive, negative affect, and physical appearance will lower their risk of developing an eating disorder. Participants for this study were high school track athletes from two local high schools. Each school was randomly assigned to either the control or the experimental groups. This study utilized a quasi-experimental with pre- and post-test design. Athletes completed the Eating Disorder Diagnostic Screening (EDDS), the Body Influence Inventory (BIAI), and a demographic questionnaire, prior to intervention. The EDDS was given only at the beginning of the study. The experimental group met twice for two separate PowerPoint presentations on topics concerning eating disorders, self-esteem and proper nutrition and the control group received a presentation on study skills and a study hall session. At the conclusion of the intervention period, all athletes were readministered the demographic questionnaire. Results of this study showed that three athletes from the experimental group were at risk for anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and sub clinical bulimia. The intervention did not significantly reduce the risk for eating disorders.