The PJA is now hoping to raise its minimum weight , currently the lowest in Europe alongside Italy. At 49kg, it's roughly the same size as an average 13-year-old boy.
While some jockeys still undertake dangerous crash dieting methods, things have vastly improved in the last ten years, with a new emphasis on education and support services in Britain, Dr McKinnon said.
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British jockey George Baker, who at 6ft is one of the tallest riders in the game, acknowledges it is a constant struggle sticking to strict diets.
The 30-year-old must keep his weight down to 57kg, following a regime of low-calorie meals, hot baths and exercise in sweat suits.
For breakfast, Baker will usually have a bowl of cereal and a cup of tea. Lunch consists solely of a piece of fruit and for dinner he will tuck into some steamed chicken and vegetables.
"On a Saturday night I might treat myself to a nice meal -- a starter and a main course," he said. "Mentally, it's very important to have a break now and then."
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So why do some jockeys still put themselves through such a punishing, potentially dangerous routine in the pursuit of getting to -- and staying at -- the pinnacle of their sport?
"Some of them just love to ride," says Johnston. "But for others it's a livelihood and they've got a family to support. By whatever means necessary, they've got to keep putting food on the table."
Whether the jockeys themselves will also enjoy that food is a different matter.