Document Type


Date of Degree Completion

Spring 2023

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Health Sciences

Committee Chair

Kelly Pritchett

Second Committee Member

Robert Pritchett

Third Committee Member

Abigail Larson


Running is characterized by high physiological demands with an emphasis on weight, which may lead to a greater risk of developing low energy availability (LEA) and/or disordered eating (DE). Recreational runners are a population that is often overlooked due to a lack of resources readily available to them. Purpose: This study investigated (1) the prevalence of menstrual dysfunction, risk of DE and LEA and (2) compare the risk of DE, training volume, and weight dissatisfaction between female recreational runners at risk for LEA versus not at risk for LEA. Methods: Female recreational runners (n= 1,923) completed an online questionnaire that included the Low Energy Availability in Females Questionnaire (LEAF-Q) to evaluate LEA risk, and the Disordered Eating Screening Assessment (DESA-6) to evaluate DE risk. Results: 53.04% of participants are at risk for LEA from a score of > 8 on the LEAF-Q, 42.5% are at risk for DE from a score of >3 on the DESA-6, and 61.7% reported menstrual dysfunction. Conclusion: Female recreational runners have a high risk for LEA and DE and may not receive the needed treatment due to a lack of resources. This reinforces the need for further education and preventative measures around LEA, MD, and DE amongst recreational female runners.