‘Thin and healthy’ sparks new weight controversies

By Kaitlin Barr
April 12, 2007


In most sports, athletes are checked every week to track certain aspects of their body; things such as their weight and blood pressure. Biographies of athletes these days include details like the athlete’s hometown, position, number, height and sometimes weight; if you’re a male. If you are a female, your weight is not broadcasted for the world to read.

According to the New York Times, “It’s a sensitivity about eating disorders,” said Judy Conradt who has been the head coach of the Texas Longhorns for the last three decades. The Hall of Fame Coach also added, “We’re dealing with a population that is vulnerable because it’s a Type A personality, driven, the people that want to be perfectionists.”

Everyday on television, in magazines, on billboards, women are broadcasted as being “thin and healthy”. But who’s to say that just because you’re thin, you’re healthier than someone who has a little more weight to them?

“Some colleges weigh their basketball players regularly to guard against rapid weight loss or gain. Some weigh them infrequently, others not at all,” according to the New York Times. Although the weights of women used to be announced, there has been a gender-equity legislation, also known as Title IX, female athletes’ weights are now never published; not just in basketball, but in any other sport as well.

Just because their weight is not broadcasted for the world to find out, it doesn’t mean these athletes are still not faced with the everyday pressures from society to be thin. When female athletes are not in their element, whether it be on the court or on the field, they still have normal social lives like every other college woman has. They dress up, they put on make-up and they wear heels.

Many colleges have different ways of “checking in” on their female athletes. At top ranked Tennessee, their females are “neither weighed nor measured for body-fat percentage. Instead, players are monitored for performance in such areas such as speed, flexibility, vertical jump and weight lifting,” the New York Times stated.

Depending on which school one attends, determines how one will be. If athletes are conscious about their weight, this may be a major determining factor as to which schools they attend. Rules regarding health issues change every year for colleges and universities around the world. In the future, these rules will be on the top-priorities list of things to check for all female athletes who are deciding which school to attend to play a sport.

Kaitlin Barr

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