Date of Award:

2016

Document Type:

Dissertation

Degree Name:

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department:

Nutrition, Dietetics, and Food Sciences

Advisor/Chair:

Heidi Wengreen

Abstract

Physically active females, or female athletes, are at risk for the condition known
as the female athlete triad (Triad). The Triad is made up of three components that are distinctly separate, but intertwined: consuming inadequate energy for how much they are exercising, poor bone health, and problems with their menstrual periods. When female athletes don’t consume enough energy for how much they exercise, there can be hormonal imbalances, causing the body to conserve energy from some important functions including menstruation, and increased bone turnover resulting in a higher risk of stress fractures and early osteoporosis. Female athletes at risk for the Triad have ahigher risk of being injured, and don’t have the energy that they need to perform physically. To combat the Triad, we performed assessments to see how many female athletes were at risk for the Triad in Division I female athletes, and were surprised at the high number that were at risk for the Triad. We provided nutrition information and interventions aimed to decrease female athlete’s risk for the Triad. We also developed anew, quick method for female athletes, or busy individuals, to track their diet using the video feature on their cell phones. The benefits of providing nutrition information to the female athletes included: increasing their knowledge about the Triad, and things that they could do to prevent the Triad. The interventions did cause behavior change in some female athletes to increase how much energy they were consuming, decreasing their risk for the Triad.

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