The prevalence of subclinical eating disorders among male cyclists

J Am Diet Assoc. 2007 Jul;107(7):1214-7. doi: 10.1016/j.jada.2007.04.017.


Disordered eating behaviors are typically seen as a problem in females and there are little data assessing their prevalence in males. The objective of the present cross-sectional investigation was to identify subclinical disordered eating patterns and dietary characteristics among competitive male cyclists. A nutritional questionnaire, the Eating Attitudes Test-26 (EAT-26), and Survey of Eating Disorders Among Cyclists, were completed by male cyclists (n=61) and noncyclists (n=63). Male cyclists scored significantly higher on the EAT-26 compared to the male control group (P<0.001). Of the 12 cyclists who showed the greatest tendency toward disordered eating (EAT-26 >20), only five self-reported having an eating disorder. Approximately half the cyclists believed eating disorders were somewhat common in the sport (28 of 60). The nutritional questionnaire revealed that male cyclists may not consume adequate nutrients to sustain their metabolic needs. Thus, the results of this study suggest that male cyclists may not know how to identify disordered eating habits and may be at an amplified risk for eating disorders and nutritional deficits. Further research should utilize various measures to address the prevalence of disordered eating in a larger sample size and quantify energy balance.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Bicycling / physiology*
  • Feeding and Eating Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Feeding and Eating Disorders / psychology
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Nutritional Requirements*
  • Prevalence
  • Risk Factors
  • Self Disclosure
  • Surveys and Questionnaires