Eating disorders, such as anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa, can have devastating effects on both the health and performance of athletes. Compared to non-athletes, both female and male athletes are at higher risk of developing an eating disorder. This is especially true for athletes participating in sports where low body weight or leanness confers a competitive advantage. Screening for disordered eating behaviours, eating disorders and for related health consequences should be a standard component of preparticipation examinations, and team physicians should be knowledgeable of the updated diagnostic criteria for eating disorders in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual-V. Athletes with eating disorders should undergo thorough evaluation and treatment by an experienced multidisciplinary team. Team physicians play a critical role in decision-making on clearance for participation and return to play. Using evidence-based guidelines for clearance and return to play encourages transparency and accountability between the sports medicine care team and the athlete. Efforts to prevent eating disorders should be aimed at athletes, coaches, parents and athletic administrators, and focused on expanding knowledge of healthy nutrition in support of sport performance and health.
- Eating disorder
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