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In order to study weight concerns and eating disorders in women tennis players, 107 women tennis players and 26 women’s tennis coaches from colleges across the U.S. responded to questionnaires relating to weight concern, body image, and abnormal eating. When evaluating drawings of female figures, players and coaches both considered the ideal body shape to be smaller than the healthiest one. Most players had normal weight, eating habits, and self-esteem; however, they also exhibited noticeable concern about their weight and appearance. Coaches revealed only moderate knowledge of weight related issues, believed such knowledge to be important, recognized that most of their players were of normal weight, and revealed somewhat negative feelings about overweight people. Players and coaches shared a healthy attitude toward tennis. The results of this study do not imply that college women tennis players are at greater risk of eating disorders than other young women, nor that college coaches are encouraging abnormal eating behaviors.
Mary B. Harris is with the College of Education, University of New Mexico. Albuquerque, NM 87131.