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Female Athletes and Disordered Eating

NPR recently shared an extremely informative segment regarding disordered eating among female athletes. Please click on the link below to hear the full story.

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“Participation in sports by girls and young women has soared in recent decades — by 560 percent among high school students since 1972, and 990 percent among college students, according to the Women’s Sports Foundation. Highly committed young female athletes now run track and play soccer, basketball, water polo and other demanding sports that require strong bodies.

But many girls aren’t eating enough to satisfy the physical demands of those sports, scientists say, and that’s putting them at risk for health problems that can last a lifetime.

These athletes are essentially malnourished. The danger they face is called female athlete triad syndrome because it typically includes three symptoms: irregular menstrual cycles, low energy and low bone density.

Doctors once looked for this constellation of symptoms only among “anorexic, very skinny” young women, says orthopedic surgeon Dr. Elizabeth Matzkin, chief of Women’s Sports Medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston.

But experience has since shown, she says, that “these athletes can come in any shape, form or weight. It’s not just that typical ballerina physique that we’re looking out for anymore.”

Unfortunately, she says, many primary care doctors still don’t recognize the syndrome and most of these athletes don’t know they’re at risk.”

-Patti Neighmond, NPR

*This article is intended for those suffering from eating disorders, such as anorexia, bulimia or binge eating disorder, in the greater San Diego area, seeking affordable treatment and services

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