Health of Female Athletes: Female Athlete Triad
Bette's initial inquiries into on Female Athlete Triad have yielded
more questions than answers at this time.
Female Athlete Triad (see
http://kidshealth.org/teen/food_fitness/sports/triad.html is a
syndrome of symptoms - "a combination of three conditions: disordered
eating, amenorrhea (means loss of menstrual cycle), and osteoporosis (a
weakening of the bones)". A female athlete can have one, two, or all
three parts of the triad.
Bette also finds that the nutrition literature is suggesting that
subclinical eating disorders are increasing among physically
In the collegiate female athlete the health ramifications
of disordered eating, menstrual dysfunction, and osteoporosis can be
extremely serious if left undiagnosed and treated. Thus, strategies
specific to prevention
and monitoring need to be developed.
As we discussed, selecting a sample
of 18-20 year
old female athletes who have been diagnosed, and who would be willing
to fill out questionnaires about the historiy of their condition would
provide me with a group that could be compared to a control group of
athletic or nonathletic women of similar age.
The question is what to ask the
samples - my
first objective might be to explore earlier intervention and risk
factors/screening in high school.
Of course, the first order of business is to review the literature on
risk assessment and prevention, with an eye toward creating a set of
"warning signs". This information could then be used by parents,
coaches, school officials, and sports medicine professionals to counsel
After organizing your literature review, particularly that part of it
that deals specifically with common factors among diagnosed young
adults, you would want to construct a questionnaire for your samples to
complete. By including questions on every aspect of the disorder
AND as many questions as possible on factors related to the
development of the illness at younger ages, you would be able to
compare the diagnosed group's answers to those of the control group.
I hate to talk only in generalities here, but this is necessary at this
point, since you do not know which factors will emerge in lit. review.
What could result is a listing of factors solely attributable to the
the diagnosed group's situation., a list of factors that both groups
have in common, and a listing that the literature says are important
but may not be important to to diagnosed women's condition only.