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Dying For Perfection
An alarming amount of athletes develop eating disorders in their quest to be thin and in their minds, perfect.
 More of this Feature
• Figure Body Mass Index
• Do You Know Someone With an Eating Disorder? Poll

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• Health and Fitness
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 From Other Guides
• Eating Disorders
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•  Eating Disorders
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Cheerleading is a high intensity sport, physically as well as mentally. Parents, coaches, friends, and community look to you as a leader. There is also an enormous emphasis on your appearance. As you pursuit perfection, it is these pressures that put you at risk of developing an eating disorder.

Eating disorders know no boundaries when it comes to gender, age, class, or ethnicity. In the last 10 years the number of males with eating disorders has doubled and reported cases in both sexes has steadily increased.

Strangely, it isn't really about eating. Eating diseases are the misuse of food in an attempt to resolve emotional problems. They usually develop with some basis in poor self-control, low self-esteem, distorted body image, and in ineffective problem solving. In a society where we are led to believe "thin" equals happiness, it's not surprising that most people experience issues with their weight.

Symptoms of Eating Disorders

  • Anorexia:
    • Unusual eating habits;
    • Excessive weight loss ;
    • Extreme physical activity;
    • Hair, nail, or skin problems;
    • Depression and low self-esteem;
    • Extreme concern with body weight and shape;
  • Bulimia:
    • Purchase of large quantities of food;
    • Abuse of laxatives or diuretics;
    • Secretive behavior regarding eating habits;
    • Weight fluctuations;
    • Depression;
  • Compulsive Overeating (Binge Eating Disorder):
    • Compulsively eating;
    • Overweight;
    • Eating 3 meals a day plus frequent snacks;
    • Overeating continually throughout the day;
    • Feelings of shame, disgust, or guilt after a binge.

An eating disorder can kill you, so if you or someone you know is suffering from an eating disorder, seek medical help. Treatment is available.

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