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Eating Disorders in Teen Athletes

Eating Disorders in Teen Athletes

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With media today, body image in teen girls has become an increasing problem. Teens feel more pressure to fit a specific body type, which is ultimately leading to more and more issues with eating disorders in youth. As a growing number of teen girls participate in sports, health issues have begun to arise from eating disorders in teen athletes. A recent article by Reuters discussed how eating disorders in teen athletes has begun to increase, and the need for doctors and parents to be aware of the health risks.

The Female Athlete Triad

Eating disorders in teen athletes can be seen when teens exercise too much and don’t eat enough calories to maintain the amount of physical activity. The health issues associated with eating disorders in teen athletes include: disordered eating, a halt in monthly menstrual cycles known as amenorrhea, and a bone-thinning disease known as osteoporosis. These three issues are known as the female athlete triad. Girls can have just one of these problems or a combination, in varying degrees.

The Dangers of Over Training

While sports can have tremendous benefits like improved self-esteem and better physical and mental health, doctors, parents, and coaches need to be aware of eating disorder habits in teen athletes. If teens begin to train too hard, the elements of the triad can surface, which can have dangerous consequences on girl’s bodies.

Timothy Neal, a researcher with the athletic training program at Concordia University in Ann Arbor Michigan states:

“It has been my experience that coaches, parents, pediatricians and family practice physicians are not experienced in caring for athletes, and athletes themselves are not aware of the health risks unique to the triad for female athletes. Parents, athletes, pediatricians, coaches and certified athletic trainers should be aware of signs and symptoms of eating disorders, including those athletes who display signs and symptoms of anxiety, depression, anger, isolation, and other behaviors that may indicate a mental health disorder.”

Be Aware of Your Body

Being aware of your body and the signals it’s giving you is an important part of staying healthy. Teen’s and parents should be aware of the risks low-calorie intake and excessive exercise can have on the body physically and emotionally. If your worried your teen is suffering from eating disorders in teen athletes, there are programs that can help.

Solstice East can help

Solstice East is a residential treatment center for girls, ages 14 to 18, grappling with teen depression, anxiety, trauma, and other emotional or behavioral issues. We strive to help our girls lead themselves back onto a path of health and happiness.

For more information about how Solstice East handles social media addiction, please call 828-484-9946!