Imagine how terrible it must be to starve yourself, or even worse, to look in the mirror and see meat and fat when others only see skin and bones. That is what anorexics today have to cope with. Anorexia nervosa is a severe disease in which a person refuses to eat because of the fear of putting on a few extra pounds (Faiad). People suffering with this disease are 15% or more below average body weight (Anorexia Nervosa). However they don’t realize it and continue with starving themselves.
An eating disorder is a disease that causes a person to form new eating habits. However these eating habits are not healthy ones; in fact they are very dangerous and if they are continued they can be life-threatening (Faiad). The most common eating disorders are anorexia and bulimia. The difference between them is that people with anorexia starve themselves and do not eat, while bulimics do eat but their eating is followed by purging, or vomiting (Faiad). Some people suppose that people with anorexia do not have an appetite; however this is a false assumption. Anorexics do indeed have an appetite but they choose not to eat because of their intense fear of gaining weight. Therefore they choose to control their appetite (Anorexia Nervosa).
There are two types of anorexia in the world. There is restriction type and binge eating/purging type. A person who has a strict calorie diet would be considered a restriction type anorexic. However there are some individuals who cannot control their hunger, so they eat food, however throwing it up later. This is called binge eating/purging type anorexia (Anorexia Nervosa). Both of these types of anorexia are equally as dangerous and can be deadly if not stopped.
Eating disorders can occur to anyone despite the fact that some people think that is only a woman’s disease. This belief isn’t correct, although this is the main reason why males tend to shy away and do not seek help for their disorder (Introduction to Anorexia). According to Faiad, about one million males in the U.S suffer from an eating disorder, and of those about 660,000 die (qtd. Dying to be thin). That means that 10% of people who suffer from the disease are males (Faiad). It’s not only women who suffer from eating disorders; anyone can develop this terrible disease.
Athletes are at most risk for acquiring anorexia, or any eating disorder for that matter. “According to the American College of Sports Medicine, as many as 62% of females competing in appearance sports that are judged subjectively suffer from an eating disorder” (Female Athletes at Risk). “Appearance sports” are sports that are not only judged on an athlete’s skills but an athlete’s artistic quality and appearance as well. Some appearance sports include figure skating, synchronized swimming, and gymnastics (Thompson).
Gymnastics has the most history with anorexia. Did you know that the U.S Olympic gymnastics team shrank from 5’3 and 105 pounds in 1976 to 4’9 and 88 pounds in 1992? (Female Athletes at Risk) Gymnasts are at most risk for developing an eating disorder (Female Athletes at Risk). In 1988, gymnast Christy Henrich developed anorexia and bulimia after being told she was too big and needed to lose weight in order to make the Olympic team. Unfortunately at the young age of 22, Christy passed away (Thompson). However, Christy is not the only gymnast who has suffered from an eating disorder. There are also famous gymnasts such as Kathy Johnson, Cathy Rigby, and Nadia Comaneci (Thompson). What they all had in common besides their desire to be thin was that they were all under tremendous amounts of pressure to be thinner than they already were. Most often when a person starts to cave in, that is when things begin to get risky.
Athletes that are exposed with tight uniforms may also be victims of anorexia. This includes swimmers and figure skaters (Female Athletes at Risk). With a tight uniform, it is common for an athlete for an...