Weight management and weight loss strategies of professional jockeys

Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab. 2002 Mar;12(1):1-13. doi: 10.1123/ijsnem.12.1.1.


Jockeys are required to maintain very low body weight and precise weight control during competition. This study examined the weight loss and weight management strategies of professional horseracing jockeys in the state of Victoria, Australia. An anonymous, self-completed questionnaire was administered (55% response rate, n = 116). Almost half (43%) reported that maintaining riding weight was difficult or very difficult, with 75% routinely skipping meals. In preparation for racing, 60% reported that they typically required additional weight loss, with 81% restricting food intake in the 24 hours prior to racing. Additionally, sauna-induced sweating (29%) and diuretics (22%) were frequently employed to further aid in weight loss prior to racing. These rapid weight loss methods did not differ between the 51% of jockeys who followed a weight management plan compared to those who did not. The impact of these extreme weight loss practices on riding performance and health remains unknown.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Animals
  • Body Weight / drug effects
  • Body Weight / physiology*
  • Cathartics / administration & dosage
  • Dehydration / chemically induced*
  • Diuretics / administration & dosage
  • Feeding Behavior / physiology*
  • Feeding Behavior / psychology
  • Female
  • Horses
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Obesity / prevention & control*
  • Obesity / psychology
  • Sports*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Victoria
  • Weight Loss / drug effects


  • Cathartics
  • Diuretics