Gymnasts, wrestlers and boxers often feel pressure to lose weight to boost performance, but the drastic methods they sometimes use - including strictly limiting kilojoules and intentional dehydration - can be dangerous to their health, experts warn.
"In the performance sports - gymnastics, dance, ballet - they have this huge responsibility to not only do a performance but to look good while they are doing it. It's a unwritten rule that they have to be a certain weight, and they get a lot of pressure, not just from dance masters but from the public's expectations and themselves," said Paula Sammarone Turocy, lead author of the guidelines and chair of the department of athletic training at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh. "We also see it in traditional sports - jockeys, wrestlers, boxers. They all have weight requirements. If they don't make the weight, they don't compete."