Department or Administrative Unit
Nutrition Exercise and Health Sciences
(1) Background: The purpose of this study was to examine the symptoms of low energy availability (LEA) and risk of relative energy deficiency in sport (RED-S) symptoms in para-athletes using a multi-parameter approach. (2) Methods: National level para-athletes (n = 9 males, n = 9 females) completed 7-day food and activity logs to quantify energy availability (EA), the LEA in Females Questionnaire (LEAF-Q), dual energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) scans to assess bone mineral density (BMD), and hormonal blood spot testing. (3) Results: Based on EA calculations, no athlete was at risk for LEA (females < 30 kcal·kg−1 FFM·day−1; and males < 25 kcal·kg−1 FFM·day−1; thresholds for able-bodied (AB) subjects). Overall, 78% of females were “at risk” for LEA using the LEAF-Q, and 67% reported birth control use, with three of these participants reporting menstrual dysfunction. BMD was clinically low in the hip (<−2 z-score) for 56% of female and 25% of male athletes (4) Conclusions: Based on calculated EA, the risk for RED-S appears to be low, but hormonal outcomes suggest that RED-S risk is high in this para-athlete population. This considerable discrepancy in various EA and RED-S assessment tools suggests the need for further investigation to determine the true prevalence of RED-S in para-athlete populations.
Pritchett, K., DiFolco, A., Glasgow, S., Pritchett, R., Williams, K., Stellingwerff, T., Roney, P., Scaroni, S., & Broad, E. (2021). Risk of Low Energy Availability in National and International Level Paralympic Athletes: An Exploratory Investigation. Nutrients, 13(3), 979. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu13030979
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