Female Athletes and Eating Disorders: A Research Synopsis
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In the United States, 95% of eating disorders exist in females. One-third of females in athletics suffer from disordered eating. Research is examining the physical and psychological consequences associated with this behavior. The physical consequences of eating disorders among female athletes are becoming so common they've even named a phenomenon after them called the Female Athlete Triad. The three components of the triad include disordered eating, amenorrhea and osteoporosis. Tools used to detect eating disorders in female athletes include body mass index, screening questionnaires and twenty-four hour nutritional screens. Treatment for a female athlete may include hormone replacement therapy, vitamin and mineral supplements and antidepressants. Nurse practitioners are vital in providing necessary preventative strategies and education to females who are at risk or currently have an eating disorder.