After models, it's Jockeys' turn to be anorexic

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London, Mar 11 (UNI) Jockeys were increasingly joining the breed of models and fashion conscious teenagers in resorting to extreme weight loss methods and getting prone to eating disorders, a new study suggests.

Jockeys hoping to be selected for big races were at risk of developing eating disorders or becoming depressed as a result of their efforts to stay slim.

The study looked at the psychological effects on 41 professional jockeys aged between 19 and 54.

The results showed jockeys were more likely to feel depressed and suffer anxiety about food when they were trying to get to a minimum weight for races. When they were at their optimal or relaxed weights they were more likely to report a good mood, less anxiety, confusion and anger.

All the jockeys embark on extreme weight loss programmes known as ''wasting'', which involves a combination of starvation, deliberate dehydration, excessive sauna use, and even self-induced vomiting.

Six jockeys were identified as being particularly at risk of eating disorders were actively flipping, which is analogous to what bulimics do.

Lead researchers Costas Karageorghis said flipping was well known in the jockey community. Some jockeys sat in saunas for up to three hours, or have very hot baths for two hours. Other methods involved going on very punishing runs before breakfast, the Independent quoted him as saying.

In a typical flat race, rider and saddle together must weigh as little as 110lb (50kg), while the maximum weight allowed is 140lb.

The average weight of a British man is 190lb. The study does acknowledge, however, that jockeys are about 20cm shorter than the average British male.

Professional Jockeys Association chief executive, Josh Apiafi, rejected the claims saying the data used by the researchers was at least five years old. ''Jockeys use saunas to lose weight ahead of a weigh-in, but to suggest they sit there for three hours is rubbish.'' We don't believe there is any kind of eating disorder in horseracing, he said.

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