How to reduce the underweight problem?


Tuesday, 23 February

Lately, many athletes have spoken out about their previous eating disorder problems. Such information campaigns are good but the question is whether this will have enough impact making successful super skinny climbers gain weight? Alizée Dufraisse has just published her story on Insta, which we followed up with some questions.

Do you agree that information campaigns have very little impact?
Yes, sure I agree. Federations and coaches are maybe not as interested in the health of their athletes as in the results they make 🤨. They want to win at any price, as also the athletes want. Definitely, something needs to be done for the future of our sport, especially in competitions.

What are your suggestions for making climbing a more healthy sport?
Considering the athletes as humans and helping them as much for becoming stronger as well as for staying the same mentally and physically. For that maybe the BMI rule or something inspired by it would be a great start. l do not think all athletes have those problems but it is a shame when it happens because they will enjoy a lot less climbing and it is an incredible activity. It is possible to be at the top level for a lot of years having a weight that is healthy.

Mina Markovic, who has been one of the very best female climbers the last 15 years with 22 World Cups and three 9a's, has recently talked a lot about eating disorder problems on her new Insta - Mina M Psychology and we asked her.

What can be done to reduce eating disorder problems?
1) Educate about consequences of (prolonged) low energy availability an physical, psychologial and performance level.
2) Education of coaches of 'weight'/diet related talk (especially with young athletes).
3) I believe IFSC already did a lot with lover the time in lead and made routes more powerful.
4) Not posting pictures of success/win/routes of extremely underweight individuals, to avoid giving an idea to young athletes of this 'ideal' constitution. Also, the sponsors could avoid that but I believe this one is VERY polemic and do not recommend it actually to apply in practice.

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