To investigate the hypothesis that problems characteristic of eating disorders may often be associated with distance running, 20 women who had lost weight through distance running were compared with a control group who did not exercise and had not lost weight and a comparison group of bulimia nervosa patients. Dependent variables were measures of depression, bulimia nervosa symptomatology, and body image disturbance. No differences were found between the runner group and the normal controls. Bulimics differed from runners and controls on most measures. Thus, the results did not support the proposition that weight loss through running leads to problems related to eating and body image. The failure to find disturbances in body image in runners suggests that body image disturbances are not a direct result of weight loss, as suggested by some theorists.
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