Skip to main content
Kent Academic Repository

Weight-regulation in karate athletes: prevalence, magnitude, and methods of weight loss, mood profiles, and eating attitudes

Kirby, Danielle (2023) Weight-regulation in karate athletes: prevalence, magnitude, and methods of weight loss, mood profiles, and eating attitudes. Master of Science by Research (MScRes) thesis, University of Kent,. (doi:10.22024/UniKent/01.02.102403) (KAR id:102403)


Aim: This study examined the prevalence and methods of weight loss and explored associations between self-regulation of eating in sport, mood, and eating attitudes in a sample of competitive karate athletes using self-report methods. Methods: Fifty-eight karate athletes were recruited from amateur karate clubs in England. Participants were grouped as lightweight (Female: 61 kg, n = 16; Male: >75 kg, n = 9) competitors. Participants completed a cross-sectional self-report online questionnaire survey regarding weight-loss practices, mood, self-regulation of eating in sport, and eating attitudes, measured with the Brunel Mood Scale (BRUMS), Self Regulation of Eating Attitudes in Sports Scale (SREASS), and Eating Attitudes Test-26 (EAT-26). Results: 43.1% of the athletes surveyed were trying to lose weight to compete. The most common weight loss methods were food restriction (65.5%), intense exercise/increased training (56.9%), and drink restriction/dehydration (37.9%). 48.2% reported always practicing their preferred weight-loss methods (WLMs) before competition. 63.8% of athletes either agreed or highly agreed that WLMs were effective, yet only 25.9% agreed or highly agreed that they were safe. 20.7% either agreed or highly agreed that WLMs provided them with a competitive advantage, while 46.6% reported that WLMs negatively impacted performance. The most common sources of weight-cutting advice were other athletes (44.8%), coaches (41.4%,) and teammates (34.5%). Collectively, for males, trying to lose weight before competition was characterised by a positive iceberg mood profile with high vigour; whilst females self-reported a negative mood profile characterised by higher scores for all negative mood dimensions, although mood states differed for male lightweight and female heavyweight athletes. Findings showed that depression and fatigue correlated significantly with dieting, bulimia and food preoccupation, and oral control. Anger, 8 confusion, and tension showed significant positive correlations with dieting and bulimia, and food preoccupation, but showed no significant correlation with oral control. Vigour showed a significant negative correlation with dieting and bulimia and food preoccupation but showed no significant negative correlation with oral control. Female athletes reported higher Global EAT-26 scores than males. Eleven females and one male reported EAT-26 scores >20. Conclusions: Collectively, these findings suggest that weight loss and use of weight loss methods is prevalent in karate. Such practices appear to be influenced by the club training environment and appear to be associated with negative mood responses and attitudes towards eating among female karate athletes. Gender and weight-classification differences for mood and eating attitudes warrant further investigation.

Item Type: Thesis (Master of Science by Research (MScRes))
Thesis advisor: Fullerton, Dr Christopher
DOI/Identification number: 10.22024/UniKent/01.02.102403
Uncontrolled keywords: karate; weight; weight cut; combat sports; eating disorders; weight making; mood responses; BRUMS; EAT-26; Brunel Mood scale; self-regulation; Eating attitudes
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GV Recreation. Leisure > Sports sciences
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Natural Sciences > Sport and Exercise Sciences
SWORD Depositor: System Moodle
Depositing User: System Moodle
Date Deposited: 10 Aug 2023 12:10 UTC
Last Modified: 14 Aug 2023 09:40 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

University of Kent Author Information

Kirby, Danielle.

Creator's ORCID:
CReDIT Contributor Roles:
  • Depositors only (login required):

Total unique views for this document in KAR since July 2020. For more details click on the image.