Body Image Amongst Elite Rugby Union Players
Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research
There is limited information on the body image of elite male athletes, however, research suggests there are some athletes who have poor body image and that this may be linked to poor dietary habits. Therefore, the current study investigated body image, and the relationship between body image and age, in elite rugby union players during their pre-season training period. This cross-sectional study was undertaken at the start of the pre-season amongst elite rugby union players in New Zealand.
... y-six professional rugby union players completed a 49-item questionnaire on body image and disordered eating. A 'body image score' was calculated from questionnaire subscales including 'drive for thinness', 'bulimia' and 'body dissatisfaction', with total scores above twenty indicative of poor body image. Body image scores varied from 3-41 out of a possible 0-72. Poor body image was indicated in 46% of the players. Disordered eating behaviours were reported among some participants including binge eating at least once a week (15%, n=4/26), laxative use (4%, 1/26). Whereas avoiding certain foods was reported by 77%, (20/26) players. The bulimia sub-scale was inversely associated with age (P = 0.026, r = -0.436. At the start of the pre-season training period, many elite rugby union players experience body image concerns. The prevalence of disordered eating behaviours is of concern, and needs to be minimised due to the negative impact on health and performance. A focus on younger players may be required in order to reduce disordered eating patterns.