Spotlight on disordered eating in high performance sport

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The Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) and National Eating Disorders Collaboration (NEDC) have launched a AIS-NEDC Disordered Eating in High Performance Sport position statement and supporting resources.

It constitutes a call to action around awareness of poor self-image and poor body image among high-performance athletes.

The position statement assists sporting organisations to address this serious, but often misunderstood area, enabling them to recognise that disordered eating can occur in any athlete, in any sport, at any time.

Incorporating the most contemporary evidence-based information, the AIS and NEDC have collaborated to provide the toolkit of resources for sporting organisations to improve understanding of the signs and symptoms of disordered eating and be in a better position to refer athletes to seek additional help.

The toolkit includes a dedicated website, policy templates, workshop delivery and other practical resources.

AIS Chief Medical Officer Dr David Hughes says one of the key recommendations is for all sporting organisations to develop a sport-specific disordered eating policy.

“Disordered eating and eating disorders occur commonly in the general community and sport is a microcosm of society,” says Dr Hughes.

“Disordered eating is extremely complex and can affect the mental and physical health, as well as the performance of athletes.

“To help foster a healthy sport system for all athletes, we believe all sporting organisations should have a disordered eating policy in place that is tailored to suit the needs of their organisation and athletes.”

NEDC National Director Dr Beth Shelton says the position statement and supporting resources have been developed with the health and wellbeing of athletes at the forefront.

The full position statement can be found on the website: ais.gov.au/disorderedeating along with videos, FAQs, templates and other practical resources.