Fear of fat in runners: An examination of the connection between anorexia nervosa and distance running

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Ammons Scientific/AmSci Publications


136 male and 64 female long-distance runners were administered the Goldfarb Fear of Fat Scale and the Activity Vector Analysis, and data on Ss' biographical and running history were also obtained, to examine correlations among running zealousness, fear of fat, and tendencies toward anorexia nervosa. The mean fear-of-fat score indicated a low-normal fear of fat for the majority of Ss; however, Ss who demonstrated the greatest zealousness (e.g., trained an average of 57.70 mi/wk) exhibited traits characteristic of anorexia nervosa (e.g., obsessive-compulsiveness, high anxiety). It is suggested that shared features of anorexia and a problematic program of obligatory running may represent variant manifestations of an underlying obsessive-compulsive disorder.