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Jockeys are required to maintain very low body weight and precise weight control during competition. This study examined the weight loss and weight management strategies of professional horseracing jockeys in the state of Victoria, Australia. An anonymous, self-completed questionnaire was administered (55% response rate, n=116). Almost half (43%) reported that maintaining riding weight was difficult or very difficult, with 75% routinely skipping meals. In preparation for racing, 60% reported that they typically required additional weight loss, with 81% restricting food intake in the 24 hours prior to racing. Additionally, sauna-induced sweating (29%) and diuretics (22%) were frequently employed to further aid in weight loss prior to racing. These rapid weight loss methods did not differ between the 51% of jockeys who followed a weight management plan compared to those who did not. The impact of these extreme weight loss practices on riding performance and health remains unknown.

J.M. Moore, D. A. Crawford, C. M. Burns, and D. Cameron-Smith <> are with the School of Health Sciences at Deakin University, 225 Burwood Highway Burwood, Victoria, Australia 3125. A.F. Timperio is with the Health Promotion Evaluation Unit in the Department of Public Health at the University of Western Australia, Western Australia, Australia 6009.