Coaches and trainers play a strong role in promoting a positive self-image and building self-esteem in their athletes. Understanding this role is key to helping prevent eating disorders.
Sports and Eating Disorders
Efforts to satisfy the expectations of others and the drive to maximize performance often put athletes at risk of developing eating disorders.
Tips for Coaches
- Know the signs and symptoms of eating disorders and understand your role as coach in preventing eating disorders.
- Provide athletes with accurate information regarding weight, weight loss, body composition, nutrition and sports performance in order to reduce misinformation and to challenge practices that are unhealthy and counterproductive.
- Emphasize the health risks of low weight, especially for female athletes with menstrual irregularities or amenorrhea. Refer the athlete for proper evaluation.
- Properly refer an athlete who is chronically dieting to someone who is trained in handling eating disorders.
- De-emphasize weight. Don't constantly weigh athletes, and eliminate comments about weight. Focus on other areas such as strength and mental conditioning.
- Do not assume that reducing body fat will enhance performance.
- Understand why weight is such a sensitive and personal issue for many women. If there is concern about an athlete's weight, the athlete should be referred for assessment to a registered dietitian or sports psychologist trained in treating eating disorders.
- Do not automatically curtail athletic participation if an athlete is found to have an eating problem, unless warranted by a medical condition. Consider the athlete's overall well-being.
- Understand your own values and attitudes toward weight, dieting and body image. Consider how these values may affect the athletes around you.
- Take warning signs seriously.
Learn More About Laureate Eating Disorders Program
Whether you are a young woman suffering with an eating disorder, a parent, a friend or coach, please call our admissions coordinators with any questions. You can reach Lisa and Becca directly at 800-322-5173 or locally at 918-491-3702 and your conversation will be completely confidential.
There is no obligation to proceed with treatment at Laureate just by calling. If Laureate is not an appropriate option for care, our admissions coordinators can also assist with referrals to other treatment programs.