About this Research Topic
In the past, physical activity has been considered a protective factor in the development of eating disorders (EDs), considering the constant monitoring of athletes by a multidisciplinary team. However, many recently published studies have shown a higher prevalence of EDs in the athletic population than in the general population. In fact, compared to non-athletes, both female/male and young/adult athletes are at higher risk of developing an eating disorder. This is especially true for athletes participating in sports where low body weight or leanness confers a competitive advantage. Eating disorders in athletes are potentially debilitating disorders with significant medical, psychological, and athletic performance consequences. The negative EDs' effects on health (dehydration, loss of electrolytes, alterations of the acid-base balance), can seriously compromise athletes nutritional status and then performance.
Unfortunately, EDs such as anorexia nervosa (AN), bulimia nervosa (BN), ortorexia nervosa, muscle dysmorphia or athlete triade are common in different levels of sport categories. Although they would seem rather rare in the elite sports, some evidence suggests that BN would prevail more than AN in the female sports population, especially in endurance disciplines. Two major concerns that researchers have to face are that little is known about dietary habits of athletes with EDs, and that adequate follow up is very difficult, especially in the long-term. Assessing lifestyle and nutritional practices in this population requires accuracy and caution, because individuals with disordered eating habits rarely seek help and those few who do so often do not reveal much useful information. In addition, few studies investigated this topic and most of them included self-reports and interviews, so it could be very easy for patients to hide or even deny their incorrect eating habits.
In this Research Topic we welcome papers dealing with the issue of eating disorders in both male/female, young/adult and amateurs/elite athletes, with details in:
(1) Prevalence data;
(2) Dietary habits;
(3) Validation of new specific questionnaire;
(4) Suggested sport- and gender-specific risk factors;
(5) Importance of early detection, management and prevention of eating disorders.
We welcome researchers to submit manuscripts in the form of original research, narrative reviews, and systematic reviews with or without meta-analysis, commentaries or letters. With our proposal, we hope to add to the existing knowledge, provide stimuli to improve interventions in athletes and coaches, and identify sport- and gender-specific prevention programs for eating disorders in sports.
Keywords: Sport Nutrition, Eating Disorders, Athletes, Sport, Dietary Habits
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