Screening for Disordered Eating and Eating Disorders in Female Athletes
Low energy availability appears to be the key etiologic abnormality central to the pathologies seen in the Female Athlete Triad. The energy deficit comes from either increased exertion or inadequate intake of nutrition, either through disordered eating (inadvertent or purposeful) or one of the pathologic eating disorders. It is important to educate female athletes about this concerning scenario as early intervention can limit morbidity and mortality from it. It is important for those interacting with female athletes, both recreational and competitive, to screen for disordered eating/eating disorders (DE/ED) which could lead to low energy availability. With proper education, screening can be done informally by virtually anyone who interacts with female athletes. In the formal setting, question-based tools are available to facilitate the process. Several of these tools are discussed in this chapter. Any athlete who screens positively for possible DE/ED should be referred to a physician and/or mental health provider for further evaluation.
KeywordsLow energy availability Female athlete triad Menstrual disorders Eating disorders Screening female athletes for the triad of disorders
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