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With some questionable health advice being posted by your friends on Facebook, politicians arguing about the state of the American healthcare system and a new medical study being summarized in just a sentence or two on TV---that seems to contradict the study you heard summarized yesterday---it can be overwhelming to navigate the ever-changing landscape of health news.

To Your Health: Eating Disorders Awareness: Quiet Starvation on the Ice

Gracie Gold
Gracie Gold

When you think of figure skaters, what comes to mind? Maybe the impressive jumps and spins or the sparkly outfits that shine on the ice? How small an athlete is or what they weigh might be the last thing you think of, yet it is the first thing on many figure skaters’ minds.

Hello, I’m Dr. Brooke Hildebrand Clubbs at Southeast Missouri State University. National Eating Disorders Awareness week arrives this month.

Two of the most common eating disorders seen in and out of the skating world are anorexia and bulimia. Anorexia is a disorder characterized by weight loss that comes from restriction in calories. Bulimia consists of periods of binge eating which results in forcefully disposing of the food later.

The National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders states that “9% of the U.S. population will have an eating disorder in their lifetime.” According to an article from Eating Disorder Hope, in sports where aesthetics plays a role, such as gymnastics, bodybuilding, and figure skating, around 33% of men and 62% of women had some sort of eating disorder.

In recent years, skaters from all over the world have been opening up about their experience with eating disorders and the sport. One skater in particular has made a major impact. Gracie Gold, a 2014 Olympic bronze medalist and two-time national U.S. Champion has been very open about her life with eating disorders. She made an inspiring come-back in 2020 when she once again competed in the U.S. National Championships. She and many others have shown that eating disorders do not have to define you. Recovery is achievable for anyone and everyone.




Eating Disorder Statistics





Content for this segment was created by Hannah Frazier as part of a project for SC301: Foundations of Health Communication, taught by Dr. Clubbs in the Spring of 2021. She is majoring in Rhetoric & Public Communication, with a minor in literature. In the future, she would like to  become a journalist or publisher.

Dr. Brooke Hildebrand Clubbs is an assistant professor in the Department of Leadership, Middle & Secondary Education. She writes for special publications of The Southeast Missourian and is a certified Community Health Worker.
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