Abstract. Background and Aim: Adolescence is a period of great risk for the development of eating disorders since many teenagers engage in long periods of dieting or exhausting sports activities in ordert to achieve their ideal body image. Research has shown that a potential majority of athletes display attitudes very similar to those observed in cases involving disturbed eating behaviour, particularly with regard to their exaggerated attention to their body image and the type of diet that they consider necessary for their activities. The aim of this study is to analyze young athletes dedicated to attaining the mesomorphic physical ideal and to identify possible dysfunctional eating habits like risk factors in the development of more serious disturbances. We further plan to evaluate possible differences in how members of the sample group perceive their bodies and behave in connection with their diet. Methods: The sample is made up of 109 males and females, aged 16-24 years. Participants completed the Pisa Survey for Eating Disorders and underwent measurements for the calculation of body mass index (BMI). Results: The young athletes in our sample show a markedly distorted perception of their own bodies.They show a widespread presence of eating behaviour that is not functional to high althletic achievement as well as a series of noteworthy risk factors connected with the onset of eating behaviour disturbances. Conclusions: The obtained results underscore the need for primary projects in prevention against and awareness of eating problems and awareness of dysmorphic and phobic disturbances in young athletes
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