Body Image & Sports Involvement in College Students

Body Image & Sports Involvement in College Students

Body image is something that affects every college student. In the world of athletics, body image is a huge issue between not only females, but males as well. In a study that looked at 231 college athletes, males typically wanted to be larger and females wanted to be thinner. Sports can help with the improvement of body image or be a hindrance to someone’s self esteem. There are many things that can cause negative effects on female athletes. While their support system (coach, parents, friends) can help them improve their body image, negative comments and body comparisons can lead to eating disorders. In fact, in a study that looked at females in the NCAA D 1, 2 and 3, it was found that almost 50% suffered from an eating disorder, higher than that of females that are not athletes. Rosie MacLennan used to be a victim of this but realize that she needed to focus on herself instead of how she compared to her competitors. Athletes are more comfortable in their everyday lives than when they’re on the court, making them more self conscious based on the people around them. To combat body image problems, the NCAA developed the Female Athlete Body Project on a college level to help females battle body image issues and promote positivity and discussions around health risks.

Key Points:

  • 1Female athletes are at a higher rate to have eating disorders than non-athlete peers.
  • 2Those who engage in sports that focus on leanness tend to have higher rates of disordered eating compared to those whose sport does not focus on body size and shape.
  • 3Healthy body image can lead to protection of one’s health, proper nutrition, and having the most healthy body to participate in their sport.


Athletics can play a role in how a student perceives their body shape, size, and its performance level.
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HealthStatus has been operating since 1998 providing the best interactive health tools on the Internet, millions of visitors have used our health risk assessment, body fat and calories burned calculators.The HealthStatus editorial team has continued that commitment to excellence by providing our visitors with easy to understand high quality health content for many years.
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HealthStatus has been operating since 1998 providing the best interactive health tools on the Internet, millions of visitors have used our health risk assessment, body fat and calories burned calculators. The HealthStatus editorial team has continued that commitment to excellence by providing our visitors with easy to understand high quality health content for many years.

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