College athletes are considered the elite or the best in their own sport among young adults and some will go to any length to be just that. According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, an athlete is defined as "a person who is trained or skilled in exercises, sports, or games requiring physical strength, agility, and stamina"("Athlete" 85). If a person is not at his/her best physical strength, agility, and stamina, can they be labeled as an athlete? The health of athletes "has become of increasing concern as a growing subpopulation of athletes is suffering from anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and other disordered eating patterns" (Thompson 317). Anorexia nervosa is the disease in which individuals starve themselves in fear of being too fat. A disease that affects individuals to binge eat and then they self-induce vomiting is known as bulimia nervosa. .
By emphasizing a thin shape, general population, gender, race, and activities that encourage dieting or weight loss play an important role in the prevalence of eating disturbances according to research on risk factors (Thompson 318). Who are the most likely candidates to fall victim to this disease?.
Numerous studies and research have indicated and proven that eating disorders have become an increasing problem amongst athletes over the years. "The deaths and serious illness resulting from eating disorders among several elite athletes have raised concern that female athletes may be at particularly high risk for developing" an eating disorder (Johnson "Athletes" 179-180). More than 9% of the female athletes in the study indicated a level of disturbed eating severe enough to warrant treatment, and an additional 58% were determined to be at high risk for developing problem eating according to Thompson and Sherman (318). Amongst male athletes, less than 1% appeared to have clinically significant eating problems, but 38% appeared to be at risk (Thompson 318).