Study objective: The competitive sports environment can enhance social and cultural pressure towards having ideal body weight in weight-sensitive sports. The close relationship between body image and performance makes the elite athletes vulnerable to eating disorders. Thus, the purpose of this research was to study eating disorders and body image among weight-class elite athletes. Methods: A cross-sectional study was carried out with elite martial arts athletes (Karate, Taekwondo, and Judo) who were considered to be of higher risk for eating disorders. 63 elite martial arts male athletes (18.59 ± 5.29 yrs), and 63 non-athlete persons (17.3 ± 3.4 yrs) were recruited. Body Mass Index (BMI), Waist Hip Ratio (WHR), and Percent Body Fat (PBF) were measured using caliper and meter. Eating Disorder Diagnosis Scale (EDDS) and Body Image Rating Scale (BIRS) were used to study eating disorders and body image among elite martial arts athletes. Results: no sign of clinical EDDS were found among the investigated athletes, and non-athletes. There were significant differences in total score of EDDS (p=0.001), eating disorder and weight concern subscales (respectively p=0.012, p=0.001) in athletes and non-athletes. Furthermore, compared with the non-athlete group, elite athlete group with middle, good, and great body images scored higher on total score and all subscales of EDDS (p ≤ 0.05). Conclusion: The results from our study show the presence of worriment about eating disorder especially body weight and eating concern in elite athletes and the early detection of it may prevent progression to severe eating disorders.
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