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Magnitude and Prevalence of Rapid Weight Loss Methods among Male NCAA Collegiate Wrestlers

Moore, Devon (2023) Magnitude and Prevalence of Rapid Weight Loss Methods among Male NCAA Collegiate Wrestlers. Master's Thesis, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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It has been well documented that wrestlers and other combat sport athletes utilize weight loss mechanisms to compete in a desired weight class. Following the 1997 NCAA wrestling season, after three student athletes died from excessive weight loss complications, the NCAA implemented a weight management program to combat rapid weight loss methods. In the years following, researchers discovered potential improvements in weight loss and gain within NCAA wrestlers, however, the current methods utilized by collegiate wrestlers have not been well studied in recent years. The purpose of this study was to investigate the prevalence and magnitude of rapid weight loss techniques among male NCAA wrestlers. A total of 63 NCAA wrestlers from four universities participated in the study, with an average age of 20.29  1.63, and 52 of the 63 reported utilizing rapid weight loss methods to make weight for competition during the 2021-2022 wrestling season, resulting in for a prevalence rate of 82.5%. The most used methods were increased exercise (96.2%), gradual dieting (94.2%), food and fluid restriction (90.4%), heated wrestling rooms (80.8%), and fasting (71.2%). Close to a third of subjects (32.7%) reduced their weight 20 times or more in the season and almost all the subjects (90.4%) lost an average of 5-14 pounds and began their weight cut 2-7 days before competition. Wrestlers reported that the individuals who exerted the greatest influence on the wrestlers’ methodologies were coaches and fellow wrestlers on their team and individuals while individuals with related educational backgrounds, such as athletic trainers, nutritionists and physicians had little to no influence. The present study was limited by the survey and the smaller sample size; accordingly, further research should continue through assessing the weight loss methods within a larger population.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Moore, Devondem147@pitt.edudem147
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Thesis AdvisorMurray,
Committee ChairLovalekar,
Committee ChairAllison,
Date: 6 June 2023
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 13 March 2023
Approval Date: 6 June 2023
Submission Date: 31 March 2023
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Number of Pages: 78
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences > Sports Medicine and Nutrition
Degree: MS - Master of Science
Thesis Type: Master's Thesis
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: Acute weight loss; weight cut
Date Deposited: 06 Jun 2023 13:55
Last Modified: 06 Jun 2023 13:55

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