Jockeys risk eating disorders to lose weight

In a bid to reach the right weight for racing, jockeys are at risk of developing eating disorders and depression according to new research.
The study by sports psychologist Dr Costas Karageorghis at Brunel University looked at the psychological effects of fast weight loss of 41 professional jockeys with an average age of 31.
The study based on a link between low weight and mood in the jockeys was published in the Journal of Sports Sciences . To do this the riders moods were rated by the researchers using an established score method.
The results showed that jockeys felt more depressed and anxious about food when trying to achieve a specific weight for a race. Out of the 41 jockeys six were felt to be at risk of developing an eating disorder .
However when the jockeys had no forthcoming races, they were in a good mood with reduced anxiety, confusion and anger.
The study concludes that jockeys are at risk of suffering from long-term mental health problems due to fasting for races, a practice called ‘wasting’ by the researchers.
The weight of an apprentice jockey has gone up by 37 per cent since 1979 and the minimum weight for a flat race jockey has gone up by 6 per cent. However jockeys are using extreme methods to achieve their ideal riding weight.
The study stated, “Researchers have reported that jockeys suffer constant dehydration, inadequate body fat and bone density, and an increased risk of osteoporosis .”
The researchers felt that more psychological support should be given to jockeys as their target weight levels get lower and lower.

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