A prospective study of body image and eating behaviors in female prepubertal artistic gymnasts and BMI-matched nongymnasts controls
Cordray, Kelly Dawn
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Body image and eating behaviors were examined over two years in artistic gymnasts (GYM; n = 11) and BMI-matched non-gymnasts controls (CON; n = 11), eight to twelve years of age, and their parents. Body image and eating attitudes and behaviors were measured using four questionnaires: (1) the Body Figure Rating Scale; (2) Physical Self-Description Questionnaire; (3) the Body Image Eating Questionnaire and; (4) the children's version of the Eating Attitudes Test at year-two only. Despite being leaner, no differences were observed between GYM and CON for body image or any of the subscales of the questionnaires and all values fell within the normal range. The findings of this study support the notion that compared to CON, GYM do not have a higher prevalence of body image disturbances or disordered eating attitudes and behaviors. In fact, both groups seemed to be at low risk for the development of eating disorders.