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Eating disorders addressed

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Colin Jackson

20 May 2013

British Athletics and England Athletics combined on Friday 17 May to stage an Eating Disorders Seminar at The Link Hotel in Loughborough; the aim being to assist staff in understanding their roles and responsibilities in the identification, treatment and support of athletes with eating disorders.

The conference showcased a number of expert speakers including leading coaches and academics in the field, as well as former 110m hurdles world record holder Colin Jackson.

Following a warm welcome from conference organiser Jane Fylan, UKA Welfare Officer and England Athletics Head of Welfare, Dr Alan Currie provided a session on managing the risks of eating disorders in sport before Kate Adam spoke about the role of coach-athlete relationships with regards to eating disorders.

Sports nutritionist Mhairi Keil then discussed the practical implications of dietary restrictions on performance and health, and after a short break for lunch, Paul Goozee, the England Athletics Team Doctor for the 2010 Commonwealth Games, presented a video case study of the implications of the female athlete triad.

The afternoon centred on testimonials from Bill Foster, coach of the female middle and long distance squad at Loughborough University, and Colin Jackson, one of Great Britain’s most successful athletes of all time.

British Athletics Performance Director Neil Black believes that the seminar gave attendees a valuable and detailed insight into the issues surrounding eating disorders:

“The seminar was hugely successful providing, all attendees with education and information thanks to the spectrum of presentations around eating disorders. It included practical tips and direction, ranging from identification to onwards referral, and there was a rightful emphasis on the need and value of the inter-disciplinary team approach.”

Dr Rob Chakraverty, British Athletics Team Doctor, also commented:

“Jane Fylan and the organisers need to be congratulated on bringing this important and under recognised subject to the fore. The audience will have left the day with some real awareness and practical tips on how to recognise eating disorders and the appropriate action.”