Female Athlete Triad: Is Your Young Athlete at Risk?

From the Show: Train Your Body
Summary: The Female Athlete Triad is a health concern for active women and girls who are driven to excel in sports.
Air Date: 11/4/14
Duration: 10
Host: Melanie Cole, MS
Guest Bio: Brenda C. Buffington, EdD, MS
buffingtonHaving been a female athlete for forty-three years can teach you a thing or two.  Brenda Buffington competed for the University of Pittsburgh in Cross Country and Track & Field for four years. After earning her Bachelor’s in Education at PITT, she moved on to a Master’s in Exercise Physiology at West Virginia University.  Several years later, she earned a doctoral degree in Higher Education; Leadership and Instruction from Argosy University.  Her 26-year coaching career was spent in Cross Country and Track & Field; from Middle School through College. In addition, she has been a certified Personal Trainer or a certified Health Fitness Specialist (ACSM) for the past twenty-five years. Currently, she is the Assistant Director of the United States Air Force Academy’s Human Performance Laboratory in Colorado Springs, CO, where she recently completed a ground breaking research study titled; “An Energy Balance and COPE Intervention with Division I Female Athletes.”  I was honored to present this research at the American College of Sports Medicine Annual Meeting in May 2014. A research article is currently under review for publication. As a result of this research and all of her educational and work-related experience, she has created a seminar presentation for athletes; What Every Female Athlete Should Know.  Finally, she will be presenting on this and other subjects at the National Conference of United States Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association in AZ in December, 2014.
Female Athlete Triad: Is Your Young Athlete at Risk?
Participation in sports is highly encouraged for girls. Involvement in these organized activities has been proven to help improve girls’ social lives and prevent teen pregnancies.

And, exercise has been shown to boost mood and decrease depression in women.

But, with increasing pressure in today’s society to be extremely thin, some females take involvement in athletics or exercise too far.

Fear of becoming overweight or out of shape can lead to what's called the “Female Athlete Triad,” a condition that can lead to bone loss, stoppage of menstrual periods, and eating disorders.

Girls who participate in sports that emphasize thinness, such swimming or gymnastics, are especially at risk.

Parents and coaches should not encourage weight loss, and should monitor young athletes’ eating habits to ensure they are not skipping meals or eating very little.

Any woman who may be experiencing the Triad should seek advice from a qualified sports medicine or exercise science professional, counselor, or dietician.

Listen in as Brenda C. Buffington, Ed.D. and Melanie Cole, MS, discuss the Female Athlete Triad and its health concerns for your young athlete.