High school students' body weight control: differences between athletes and non-athletes

Rita Mikulan, Bettina E Piko
2012 Collegium Antropologicum  
Due to chronic dissatisfaction with body weight in youth, efforts to lose weight often lead to pathological dietary behaviours. Regular and heavy sports activity may contribute to the optimization of body weight, not only by elevating the energy utilization but also by increasing the health consciousness and the tendency to self-monitor. Research generally finds a beneficial role of extracurricular sports activity in body weight control. Therefore, we aim to analyze how regular, heavy sports
more » ... ar, heavy sports activity (more precisely, competitive sports) may contribute to body weight control among two groups of youth: athletes and non-athletes. Our study was carried out using 347 adolescents; among them there were 91 athletes and 259 controls. The subjects completed self-administered questionnaires concerning their body weight control and dietary habits. We found that girls were less satisfied with their body weight and reported dieting more frequently with a greater emphasis on healthy dieting than boys. Sport influenced these strong gender differences only regarding healthy dieting, young male athletes laid a larger emphasis on healthy diets than their non-athlete counterparts, therefore their attitude became similar to that of female athletes and non-athletes. We conclude that despite the normal weight in high school students, episodes of dieting that might contribute to eating disorders were quite frequent. This was not influenced by the students' extracurricular sports activity. A greater monitoring of male athletes' and their friend's diet draw attention to the need for developing health education programs specific to boys.
pmid:22816201 fatcat:fiowreml4nccvmcculzamxyivq