Impact of Body Image on Female Athletes

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Impact of Body Image on Female Athletes

Finding a woman who is happy with her body is like finding a white buffalo … not entirely impossible … just unlikely. So what effect does that type of mindset have on a female athlete?
Seems we have become a nation of weight watchers, trying to whittle ourselves down to fit into the unrealistically slim body type that is held up as the latest standard of beauty. The down side is that that body type isn’t very productive in the pursuit of sport success… unless maybe you’re a marathon runner … but even then …We have become obsessed with our bodies and the main focus of that obsession is weight. That obsession is not entirely a bad thing. There are good reasons to be concerned about your weight. Obesity can cause heart disease, the number one killer of women, as well as diabetes, cancer, gallstones, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and triglycerides, stroke and sleep apnea, among other conditions. Being *mindful* of your body composition is good. Obsessive? Not so much!

A Brown University article on female athlete’s body image, “Muscle vs. Aesthetics,” quotes a study, saying that between 16 and 72 percent of female athletes experience eating disorders at one point, as compared to only five to ten percent in the general population. What is the cause for this disparity? Sports are supposed to give women confidence and high self-esteem, but this is a thin line to tread. “Female athletes are probably more at risk for eating disorders because they may have certain predisposing personal attributes that both make them athletes. They are driven to succeed and often ignore pain while trying to reach a goal.” Not to mention that some female athletes view their bodies a vehicle for performance and success. When a woman starts to think of her body as a tool instead of part of herself, it is easy to become overwhelmed by the desire to make it perfect.

Granted, changing the way you feel about your body...
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