Weight loss practices and eating behaviours among female physique athletes: Acquiring the optimal body composition for competition
AuthorsAlwan, Nura; orcid: 0000-0002-7033-6250; email: N.firstname.lastname@example.org
Moss, Samantha L.
Davies, Ian G.; orcid: 0000-0003-3722-8466
Elliott-Sale, Kirsty J.
MetadataShow full item record
AbstractLittle is known about weight loss practices and eating behaviours in female physique athletes. This study investigated the weight loss history, practices, and key influences during the pre-competition period in a large cohort of female physique athletes stratified by division and experience level. Eating attitudes and behaviours were assessed to identify whether athletes were at risk of developing an eating disorder. Using a cross-sectional research design, female physique athletes (n = 158) were recruited and completed an anonymous online self-reported survey consisting of two validated questionnaires: Rapid Weight Loss Questionnaire and Eating Attitudes Test-26. Irrespective of division or experience, female physique athletes used a combination of weight loss practices during the pre-competition phase. Gradual dieting (94%), food restriction (64%) and excessive exercise (84%), followed by body water manipulation via water loading (73%) were the most commonly used methods. Overall, 37% of female physique athletes were considered at risk of developing an eating disorder. Additionally, 42% of female physique athletes used two pathogenic weight control methods with 34% of Figure novice athletes indicating binge eating once a week or more. The coach (89%) and another athlete (73%) were identified as key influences on athletes’ dieting practices and weight loss. The prevalence of athletes identified with disordered eating symptoms and engaging in pathogenic weight control methods is concerning. In future, female physique athletes should seek advice from registered nutritionists to optimise weight management practices and minimise the risk of developing an eating disorder.
CitationPLOS ONE, volume 17, issue 1, page e0262514
PublisherPublic Library of Science
DescriptionFrom PLOS via Jisc Publications Router
History: received 2021-05-14, accepted 2021-12-28, collection 2022, epub 2022-01-14
Publication status: Published