Division Reports

International Olympic Committee Medical Committee report

This committee report discusses the Athlete Triad video series for females, and the connection between eating properly and low energy levels

By Roberta Sherman, PhD

Female Athlete Triad videos have been made available by the International Olympic Committee Medical Committee (IOCMC). Recognizing the serious and potentially lifelong medical consequences of the Female Athlete Triad, the IOCMC commissioned 4 videos to be shown to athletes at the 2010 Youth Olympic Games in Singapore.

The Triad, which refers to the relationship between inadequate eating (Low Energy Availability), Amenorrhea, and Osteoporosis, is a concern for active females and athletes who do not ingest enough calories to fuel their physical exercise and have enough left over to support normal bodily processes. If this condition persists or is severe, the hypothalamus and pituitary will "turn off' the reproductive system in order to conserve energy, resulting in inadequate estrogen and menstrual dysfunction. The lack of menses and estrogen then negatively effects bone health and can cause stress fractures and eventually osteoporosis.

The IOCMC, in conjunction with a Triad and Healthy Body Image educational task force comprised of 7 international specialists (including Division 47 members, Roberta Sherman, PhD and Ron A. Thompson, PhD), worked to develop these 4 videos. The goals of the videos were to increase the athlete's knowledge of the health implications of the female athlete triad and to educate the athlete regarding healthy nutritional and exercise habits. Each video discusses the types of problems that can occur with inadequate energy (calories) and how these problems affect both health and performance. The videos can be located on the IOC Website.

Those Division 47 members who work with female athletes might find showing these brief videos as a useful springboard for a discussion on good health enhancing good performance.