Nurtitional 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 active women.

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 their charges.

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.

-ddw