Attitudes Toward Eating and Body Weight and the Psychological Impact of Weight Loss on College Wrestlers
The current study addressed a lack of prospective, longitudinal research examining college wrestlers’ eating attitudes and behaviors and the impact of weight loss on their levels of anxiety and depression over the course of a competitive season. Male and female college wrestlers from a small college in the Midwest completed measures of their eating attitudes and behaviors and levels of anxiety and depression (EAT, BAI, BDI, respectively) during the beginning, middle, and end of their competitive wrestling season. The wrestlers’ eating attitudes and levels of anxiety and depression were worst at the beginning of the season, when weight loss was highest. Their attitudes, anxiety, and depression significantly improved throughout the course of the season as their reported weight loss decreased. They rarely engaged in unhealthy eating habits but did use exercise to control their weight. College wrestlers’ approaches to weight loss may not be as unhealthy as many people believe them to be. These findings provide a more accurate portrayal of college wrestlers’ eating attitudes and behaviors and the psychological impact of weight loss than previous cross-sectional research. Interventions focusing on safe and effective weight loss/maintenance approaches and strategic program planning during the off- and pre-seasons would help support the health and well-being of college wrestlers. Future research should continue to use prospective, longitudinal designs in order to better understand the eating attitudes and behaviors and the psychological impact of weight loss on college wrestlers.
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