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UK Coaching Team
Safety and Welfare Supporting Specific Needs

Navigating Change: Transitions and Eating Problems

In the fifth part of our series on disordered eating, Dr Carolyn Plateau and Dr Sebastian Sandgren from Loughborough University explore how coaches and participants can navigate transitions and eating problems

Eating problems such as disordered eating and clinical eating disorders are more common in athlete than non-athlete populations. 

Eating problems can occur in all participants, irrespective of their age, gender, background, or sport, although there are some factors that can increase the risk of eating problems: 

  • Being female 
  • Of adolescent age
  • Competing in sports that promote leanness (e.g., gymnastics, weight-category sports, endurance sports) 
  • Feeling pressure to lose weight or experiencing critical feedback about body, weight or shape from coaches, peers, or parents. 


Transitions and major life events for participants can be potentially difficult periods, that could trigger eating problems in some individuals. Some major transitions for participants are outlined below. 

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