Informed Parents and Coaches Can Help Prevent Eating Disorders in Young Athletes as Fall Sports Begin

Eating Recovery Center Offers Guidance to Help Parents, Coaches and Athletes Minimize Eating Disorders Risks

DENVER, CO--(Marketwire - Oct 2, 2012) - Driven athletes possess similar personality traits to individuals who suffer from anorexia nervosa, which may predispose them to the potential development of an eating disorder. For this reason, and as fall sports kick into full gear, Eating Recovery Center, an international center providing comprehensive treatment for anorexia, bulimia, EDNOS and binge eating disorder, encourages parents, coaches and athletes themselves to understand and minimize athletic activities and pressures that could potentially lead to eating disorders.

Experts agree that certain categories of sports tend to place athletes at a greater than average risk for developing an eating disorder. High risk sports often include dance, gymnastics, wresting, endurance running and swimming. In fact, research published by Craig Johnson, PhD, FAED, CEDS, chief clinical officer of Eating Recovery Center, found that at least one-third of female college athletes have some symptoms of an eating disorder.

"The same perfectionistic, high-achieving temperament that fuels athletic achievement closely mirrors the traits of individuals who tend to develop eating disorders," said Dr. Johnson. "For this reason, it is important for athletes and their parents and coaches to be aware of and responsive to eating disorders risk factors in the athletic environment."

To help parents of athletes reduce eating disorders risks, Eating Recovery Center offers the following guidance:

1. Keep a watchful eye for signs of over-exercising or obsession with achieving a specific weight or body size for competition.
2. Focus on the excitement of playing a sport or the importance of being part of a team, rather than on performance and wins and losses.
3. If eating disorders run in your family, be cautious about placing your child in body shape- or weight-focused sports, including those mentioned above.

Coaches can also assist in eating disorders prevention by recognizing their leadership role and exercising that influence to support the health of their athletes. Eating Recovery Center offers coaches the following advice:

1. Be mindful of the comments you make about athletes' body types, shapes and sizes; seemingly harmless remarks can be very triggering for genetically predisposed individuals.
2. If weighing athletes or measuring body fat is a component of preparation for your sport, make efforts to privately assess athletes and keep numbers confidential when possible.
3. Open lines of communication with your athletes and engage in a dialogue if you are concerned about an individual's weight loss or behaviors.

Additionally, individual athletes should adhere to the following recommendations to ensure safe and healthy athletic participation:

1. Focus on creating balance in your life and make time for non-athletic endeavors such as schoolwork, hobbies and time with friends and family.
2. Recognize the value of resting when you are injured or ill; pushing yourself harder during these times can result in further injury or illness.
3. Being asked to drop weight for an athletic event can be incredibly triggering; plan plenty of time for safe weight loss preparation and encourage teammates to do the same.

Eating disorders in athletes of all ages can lead to lower levels of athletic performance, organ malfunction, bone deterioration and osteoporosis, as well as cardiovascular problems. Early intervention and expert treatment from eating disorders professionals can minimize the chances for negative long-term health effects. For more information about eating disorders in athletes, visit

About Eating Recovery Center
Eating Recovery Center is an international center providing comprehensive treatment for anorexia, bulimia, EDNOS and binge eating disorder. Under the personal guidance and care of Drs. Kenneth Weiner, Craig Johnson, Emmett Bishop and Ovidio Bermudez, programs provide a full spectrum of services for children, adolescents and adults that includes Inpatient, Residential, Partial Hospitalization, Intensive Outpatient and Outpatient Services. Our compassionate team of professionals collaborates with treating professionals and loved ones to cultivate lasting behavioral change. Denver-based facilities include the Behavioral Hospital for Adults, the Behavioral Hospital for Children and Adolescents, the Partial Hospitalization Program and Outpatient Services for Adults, and the Partial Hospitalization Program for Children and Adolescents. In an effort to increase patient access to care throughout the United States, Eating Recovery Center partners with Summit Eating Disorders and Outreach Program in Sacramento, Cali., and The Moore Center for Eating Disorders in Bellevue, Wash. Summit offers Partial Hospitalization and Outpatient Services as well as Intensive Outpatient and Outpatient Services in Fresno and Roseville. The Moore Center offers Partial Hospitalization, Intensive Outpatient and Outpatient Services. For more information, please contact us at 877-218-1344 or or confidentially chat live on our website at

Contact Information:

Shannon Fern
Communications Strategy Group
(303) 433-7020