The Relationship Between Eating Attitudes, Competitiveness, Media Perception, and Self-Esteem.
Several factors may play a role in eating attitudes. In the athletic environment, being competitive, and the level of competition may require an individual to develop and maintain a specific body image. Being academically competitive may require long study hours, which may lead to missing meals throughout the day. Of the many studies on eating disorders, few focused on exposure to media messages such s television, movie, and radio ads, however these topics may play a factor in eating attitudes because many people are exposed to what the media portrays as beautiful, or attractive. Previous research on self-esteem show a relationship between low self-esteem and negative eating attitudes. A person who has low self-esteem may have negative feelings toward their body image, therefore develop negative eating patterns. .
Several studies (Blessing, Stanton, Warren, 1990; Picard, 1999, Virnig, McLeod, 1996, Ziegler, Hensley, Roepke, 1998, Parks, Read, 1997) have shown a relationship between eating attitudes and competitiveness. The studies, all conducted on athletes, consistently found a relationship between high levels of competition and high pressure to do well in their sport event. These studies also focused on sports that require a lean body, and those that require a more muscular body. The results showed that those in a sport that requires a lean body are more apt to develop stronger attitudes toward eating.
Competitiveness is not only linked to athletes. Two studies (Crago, Yates, Fleischer, Segerstrom, 1996, Burckle, Ryckman, Thornton, Audesse, 1999) focused on non-athletic competitiveness such as academics, showed there was pressure to do well in school and to participate in numerous extra-curricular activities (choir, piano, etc.). These pressures had an impact on attitudes toward eating.