The female athlete triad

Amanda K. Weiss Kelly, Suzanne Hecht

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

45 Scopus citations


The number of girls participating in sports has increased signifi cantly since the introduction of Title XI in 1972. As a result, more girls have been able to experience the social, educational, and health-related benefi ts of sports participation. However, there are risks associated with sports participation, including the female athlete triad. The triad was originally recognized as the interrelationship of amenorrhea, osteoporosis, and disordered eating, but our understanding has evolved to recognize that each of the components of the triad exists on a spectrum from optimal health to disease. The triad occurs when energy intake does not adequately compensate for exerciserelated energy expenditure, leading to adverse effects on reproductive, bone, and cardiovascular health. Athletes can present with a single component or any combination of the components. The triad can have a more signifi cant effect on the health of adolescent athletes than on adults because adolescence is a critical time for bone mass accumulation. This report outlines the current state of knowledge on the epidemiology, diagnosis, and treatment of the triad conditions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere20160922
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 2016

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
Copyright © 2016 by the American Academy of Pediatrics.


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