About 15 percent of major college athletes may have symptoms of eating disorders, study suggests

COLUMBUS, Ohio - A new survey suggests very few major college athletes suffer from full-blown eating disorders, but slightly more than one in six may exhibit limited symptoms of disordered eating.

Results showed that 83 percent of the athletes reported no signs of an eating disorder. Another 15 percent showed some behaviors associated with an eating disorder - such as binge-eating and purging - but not severe enough to be listed as a disorder.

The results are mostly good news, but they show that even some elite athletes have eating and body image problems that need to be addressed, said Jennifer Carter, sports psychologist at Ohio State University.

Carter helped conduct the survey of 680 student-athletes at Ohio State. She presented the results August 23 in Chicago at the annual meeting of the American Psychological Association.

"In general, eating disorders among college athletes are no more prevalent - and may be slightly less prevalent - than among college students at large," Carter said.

The survey of Ohio State athletes found that 20 percent of women showed symptoms of eating disorders - compared to rates of 19 to 32 percent found in four other studies of college women in general.

One of the more surprising findings, Carter said, was that 38

Contact: Jennifer Carter
Ohio State University

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