This study investigated the prevalence, magnitude, and methods of rap-id weight loss among male and female Taekwondo athletes from all competitive levels. A questionnaire was administered to 72 men (re-gional/state level, n=31; national/international level, n=41) and 44 women (regional/state level, n=9; national/international, n=35). Among the male athletes, 77.4% of the regional/state level and 75.6% of the na-tional/international athletes declared to have reduced weight to com-pete in lighter weight categories. Among women, 88.9% of regional/state level and 88.6% of national/international level reported the use of rapid weight loss strategies. Athletes reported to usually lose ~3% of their body weight, with some athletes reaching ~7% of their body weight. The methods used to achieve weight loss are potentially dan-gerous to health and no difference between sexes was found. Four methods were more frequently used by men athletes in higher competi-tive levels as compared to lower levels, as follows: skipping meals (Z=2.28, P=0.023, η2=0.21), fasting (Z=2.337, P=0.019, η2=0.22), re-stricting fluids (Z=2.633, P=0.009, η2=0.24) and spitting (Z=2.363, P=0.018, η2=0.22). Taekwondo athletes lost ~3% of their body mass, us-ing methods potentially dangerous for their health. Although no differ-ence was found between sexes, lower level athletes more frequently used methods such as skipping meals, fasting, restricting fluids and spitting. Considering that these health-threating methods are more commonly used by lower level athletes, specific education programs should be directed to them.
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CONFLICT OF INTEREST