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Moniqu Ryan

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Preventing Relative Energy Deficiency in Young Female Athletes

It can start innocently enough. A young female athlete pushes herself harder than usual, training intensely to gain a competitive edge. While this increased output naturally requires consuming more calories to meet the total demands of training and recovery — not to mention growth and development — her diet does not change. The result is a condition known as “relative energy deficiency in sport,” or RED-S.

Coined by an expert panel convened by the International Olympic Committee, RED-S is a more comprehensive term that builds on the condition known as the “female athlete triad” to describe an energy deficiency gap that results when energy intake is insufficient to support activities of daily living, growth, health and functioning. This syndrome affects bone health, menstrual function, metabolic rate, immune system function, protein synthesis, cardiovascular health and psychological health. While more common in females, RED-S also affects young male athletes.  Read More.