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Social Pressures Aside from the media that glorifies thinness and places such a high value on having the perfect body female athletes face compounded pressures to be thin from their coaches parents peers and judges Coaches place extreme pressure on their female athletes According to Smith 1996 female competitors are expected be assertive and even aggressive yet have the appearance of sweet little girls They are expected to be tough competitors soft-spoken and elegant ladies It is difficult for adolescent girls when already going through such a vulnerable time in their life to resolve these mixed messages that they are receiving and consequently many female athlete develop disordered eating behaviors Coaches advise their female athletes to maintain a low percent body to both enhance performance and appearance Ross and Gall 1996 state that females in sport mistakenly think that having a very slender body means they are fit and healthy but obtaining this thin slender body becomes an obsession that eventually leads to full-fledged eating disorders Smith 1996 stated eating disorders are most commonly seen among those competing in appearance sports such as gymnastics ballet figure skating equestrian sports and diving In these types of sports where athletes are being judged on technical and artistic merit they are under enormous pressure to be thin because many judges consider thinness to be an important factor when deciding the artistic score 62 of females in sports like gymnastics and figure skating develop eating disorders Over the past few decades we can see a huge drop in the average weight of female athletes In 1976 the average gymnast was 53 weighing 105lbs and in 1992 the average gymnast was 49 weighing 88lbs Clinical Trials in Sports Medicine states that due to the personal attributes that make up an athlete also make an athlete predisposed to eating disorders Their self-identity is as an athlete only with no identity outside of sports thus driving the athlete to win at
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