UK study shows more than 13% of endurance athletes have an eating disorder
Video report by Sophie Dulson
Elite athletes are generally viewed by most of the general population as 'healthy'.
However, the eating behaviours of some athletes may be associated with harm or may even be part of a clinical condition such as anorexia or bulimia nervosa. A study of distance runners in the UK found that of 184 female athletes, 29 (16%) had an eating disorder. Of these, 3.8% had anorexia nervosa, 1.1% had bulimia nervosa and 10% had a subclinical disorder or EDNOS (eating disorder not otherwise specified).
Since January this year, Jersey's adult community eating disorders pathway has had 41 referrals to the service.
Endurance Athlete Jess Troy was one of the 41 people referred to Jersey's 'Adult Mental Health - Eating Disorders' service, after being diagnosed with Anorexia Nervosa in August 2017.
Jess is one of Jersey's top performing endurance athletes having competed for her country at various national competitions and two Island Games.
At the 2019 Natwest Island Games in Gibraltar, she won Team Gold and Individual Bronze in the half marathon.
Two years on from this sporting high, she is sharing her experiences of living with an eating disorder and how she overcame it.
Jess' relationship with food changed in 2015 after hearing a comment at the 1500m race start line at Jersey's Island Games.
It was here that she overheard a fellow competitor say 'to be faster you have to be lighter'. It was a comment that subconsciously stayed with Jess for the next five years of her life.
After years of mental health therapy in Jersey and support from her family, friends, coaches and Mind Jersey, Jess says her health is significantly improving.
Earlier this year she was discharged from Jersey's Adult Mental Health Services and is now on the road to recovery.
Jess now coaches the next generation of young athletes at the Spartan Athletics Club, as well as being a mental health first aider for Mind Jersey, an accomplishment she is incredibly proud of.
Jess hopes her experiences of living with an eating disorder will help others who may find themselves going through the same journey as she did.
She is now encouraging other people to talk about their mental health.