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Braz J Psychiatry. 2013 Jul-Sep;35(3):237-42. doi: 10.1590/1516-4446-2012-0840.

Disordered eating behaviors and body image in male athletes.

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Universidade Federal de Ciências da Saúde de Porto Alegre, Department of Nutrition, Porto AlegreRS, Brazil.



To identify disordered eating behaviors and body image dissatisfaction, as well as their relationship to body fat (BF), among male athletes in high risk sports for eating disorders.


One hundred and fifty-six male athletes were divided into the following categories: weight-class sports, sports where leanness improves performance, and sports with aesthetic ideals. BF was assessed and three questionnaires were used: the Eating Attitudes Test; the Bulimic Investigatory Test, Edinburgh; the Body Shape Questionnaire.


Disordered eating behaviors and body image dissatisfaction were found in 43 (27.6%) and 23 athletes (14.7%), respectively, and an association was detected between the two variables (p < 0.001). Athletes with and without disordered eating behaviors did not differ in %BF (11.0 ± 5.2% and 9.8 ± 4.0%, respectively; p = 0.106). However, athletes with body image dissatisfaction had higher %BF than those who were satisfied (12.6 ± 5.9% and 9.7 ± 3.9%, respectively; p = 0.034). There were no differences in BF, frequency of disordered eating behaviors, and body image dissatisfaction between sports categories.


Nearly one-quarter of athletes showed disordered eating behaviors, which was associated with body image dissatisfaction. Athletes with higher %BF were more likely to be dissatisfied with body image. There was no difference in eating behavior and body image between athletes from different sports categories.

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