Body Image and Eating Disturbance in Obligatory Weightlifters, Obligatory Runners, and Sedentary Individuals

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The current study evaluated body image and eating disturbance in obligatory runners, obligatory weightlifters, and sedentary controls. Thirty subjects comprised each group, evenly proportioned by gender. The results indicated that weightlifters were significantly more accurate in estimating body size than runners and controls, although the latter two groups did not differ from one another. All subjects overestimated waist and hips to a greater degree than thighs; this finding was also true for their estimates of the size of a department store mannequin. Females were more dissatisfied with their body than males, with the exception that male and female weightlifters were equivalent on body dissatisfaction indices. Runners and weightlifters had greater eating disturbance than controls; females evidenced greater eating psychopathology than males. These findings indicate that type of physical activity may be related to size estimation accuracy and body satisfaction. The results are discussed with regard to the need to further refine subtypes of both obligatory runners and weightlifters for future investigations.

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International Journal of Eating Disorders, v. 7, issue 6, p. 759-768.