Do Younger Adult Female Athletes Need to Eat More?

 

Female basketball players

Millions of girls and young women participate in sports every year –  there is been an explosive growth in popularity with a 990% increase for college students since 1972. Along with this popularity growth comes a higher number of people engaging in high-octane sports and activities. Many younger female athletes practice for hours a day, running for miles and working out until they can no longer move.  With all this activity comes an increased need for calories –  but are these female athletes eating enough?  Unfortunately, many are not, putting their health at serious risk.

These women are putting themselves in danger of developing female athlete triad syndrome, named for its three common symptoms: low energy, in regular menstrual cycles and low bone density.  Typically, those who develop this are essentially malnourished and used to be considered only a danger for Women who were either anorexic or extremely skinny naturally. Doctors now know that younger female athletes of all shapes and sizes are at risk for developing athlete triad syndrome due to their high activity levels and low caloric intake.

Nowadays, most doctors know to ask young female athletes suffering from shin splints or fractures about their nutrition habits and menstrual cycles.  These injuries are very common among people with low bone mineral density, and it’s important to start the healing process as soon as possible. According to doctors, women can only really build up their bone mass to about the age of 25 – after that age, hormonal changes cause women to lose density by a small amount every year.  Young women who have lost bone density have an opportunity to build it back up but it may never reach full potential due to past damage.

Nutritionists recommend that Younger female athletes who tend to work out the most should eat as much as 3500 calories per day. Many girls feel anxious about this time one to calories due to body image issues but it imperative that they eat enough to energize and fuel their body.  It is language like this that is helping athletes eat as they’re supposed to by taking the focus off the word calorie and instead using power words.  By encouraging younger female athletes to eat wholesome and nutritious meals and snacks the risks of female athlete triad syndrome well go down. We live in a world obsessed with looks, when we should be a us Society dedicated to health and wellness for all.

Story Credit

Used under Creative Commons Licensing courtesy of Joe Bielawa

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