Background & Objective
I have worked in professional sport for nine years now and have certainly seen elements of disordered eating and eating disorders with the athletes I have supported in rugby, football and boxing. I’m not convinced many of the athletes knew they had various traits of disordered eating patterns, nonetheless, let’s dive into this area a little deeper.
Since 1992, the term Female Athlete Triad has been used to describe the combination of amenorrhea, osteoporosis, and disordered eating. However, developments have been made and as of 2007, the Triad is now described as a disorder that features menstrual dysfunction, altered bone health and low energy availability (LEA) with or without an eating disorder.
In 2014, the International Olympic committee produced a consensus statement which encompasses the full scope of this symptomology and was given a new term, the Relative Energy Deficiency in Sport (RED-S). Importantly it was highlighted that this new framework includes males and recreational athletes. The video link below is an outstanding listen on this.
The purpose of this review was to synthesise available evidence and provide coaches with the scientific basis underlying the concepts of LEA disorders. An overview of RED-S is provided and importantly nutritional guidelines to help prevent LEA.