http://www.digitaljournal.com/article/287856

Figure skating behaviours lean towards eating disorders

Posted Feb 20, 2010 by KJ Mullins
There's a dark side to aesthetic sports like figure skating- part of being perfect on the ice can lead to an eating disorder.
Dr. Kimberly Dennis  MD is the Medical Director at Timberline Knools Residential Treatment Center in...
Dr. Kimberly Dennis, MD is the Medical Director at Timberline Knools Residential Treatment Center in Chicago.
Dr. Kimberly Dennis, MD
Dr. Kimberly Dennis, M.D.,psychiatrist specializing in eating disorder treatment, is speaking out on the health risks that can come from for figure skaters going for the gold in the Olympics.
Dennis says that taking a fresh look at the figure skating with a medical eye shows that those in the sport have a huge risk for suffering from body image issues or deal with an eating disorder.
Part of the reason for the greater risk is that athletes are expected to defy the laws of gravity with complex jumps and spins for the judges. When a girl develops into a mature woman with fully developed hips and breasts their center of gravity changes.
"It's a unique coincidence that the Ladies' Olympic figure skating competition will take place next week, during National Eating Disorders Awareness Week (NEDA Week)," noted Dr. Dennis in a press release. "Olympic figure skaters will get lots of attention for their artistry and technical skill, and much will be said about their stories of hard work and sacrifice. Viewers should also realize how unrealistic the images they see on TV are, and how severe are the costs paid by many of those women to achieve those results. The effects of an eating disorder will be with many of these women for life."
Dennis added that the skating scene has a 'don't ask, don't tell' climate when it comes to eating disorders among the families and coaches hoping for a medal at the Olympics.
"These athletes have often dedicated much of their life to pursuing a spot in the Olympics. Skating officials should expect that many would respond in unhealthy ways, going to unhealthy extremes."