Weight loss beliefs, practices and support systems for high school wrestlers

Leonard F. Marquart, Jeffery Sobal

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25 Scopus citations


Purpose: Wrestlers often engage in unhealthy practices to achieve a low body weight for competition. This study examined beliefs, practices, and potential support systems to promote safe weight loss among scholastic wrestlers. Methods: A written questionnaire was developed and administered to all nine high school wrestling teams in one rural county. Responses were obtained from 197 wrestlers. Results: Most wrestlers reported that "making weight" was very important. Increased activity and decreased food intake were the most frequent weight loss methods. Unsafe methods such as vomiting and use of laxatives were sometimes used, even though many wrestlers recognized these practices were unhealthy and decreased performance. Personal desire to win, coaches, and teammates were reported to be the greatest influences on weight loss efforts. Wrestlers believed that coaches and physicians were the most accurate sources of weight loss information. Conclusion: Nutrition counseling which goes beyond simply providing information about the risk of rapid weight loss among adolescent wrestlers is needed. Emphasis on motivating wrestlers to adopt healthy weight management strategies is important. Wrestlers perceive physicians as credible sources of information, and physicians should become more actively involved in educating both coaches and athletes about safe weight management.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)410-415
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Adolescent Health
Issue number5
StatePublished - Jul 1994


  • Weight loss Wrestling Nutrition Body composition


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