Investigating the prevalence of low energy availability, disordered eating and eating disorders in competitive and recreational female endurance runners

Dervish, R. A., Wilson, Laura J. ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-3744-6132 and Curtis, Christopher ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-4386-0284 (2022) Investigating the prevalence of low energy availability, disordered eating and eating disorders in competitive and recreational female endurance runners. European Journal of Sport Science . ISSN 1746-1391 [Article] (Published online first) (doi:10.1080/17461391.2022.2079423)

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Abstract

Eating disorders (ED), disordered eating (DE) and low energy availability (LEA) can be detrimental to health and performance. Previous studies have independently investigated prevalence of ED, DE or LEA, however limited studies have combined methods identifying risk within female runners. The aim of this study was to identify prevalence of ED, DE and LEA in United Kingdom-based female runners and associations between age, competition level and running distance. The Female Athlete Screening Tool (FAST) and Low Energy Availability in Females Questionnaire (LEAF-Q) were used in a cross-sectional study design. A total of n = 524 responses eligible for analysis were received. A total of n = 248 (47.3%), n = 209 (40%) and n = 49 (9.4%) athletes were at risk of LEA, DE and ED, respectively. LEAF-Q scores differed based upon age (Age: H(3) = 23.998, p≤0.05) and competitive level (Comp: H(1) = 7.682, p≤0.05) whereas FAST scores differed based on age (Age: F(3,523) = 4.753, p≤0.05). Tukey's post-hoc tests showed significantly higher FAST scores in 18-24 years compared to all other age categories (p≤0.05). Stepwise multiple regression demonstrated age and competitive level modestly predicted LEAF-Q scores (R2adj = 0.047, F(2,523) = 13.993, p≤0.05, VIF = 1.0) whereas age modestly predicted FAST scores (R2adj = 0.022, F(1,523) = 12.711, p≤0.05, VIF = 1.0). These findings suggest early identification, suitable screening methods and educational intervention programmes should be aimed at all levels of female endurance runners.

Item Type: Article
Keywords (uncontrolled): Nutrition, Menstruation, Physical Activity, Health
Research Areas: A. > School of Science and Technology > London Sport Institute > Physiology at the London Sport Institute
Item ID: 35155
Notes on copyright: This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in European Journal of Sport Science on 02 June 2022, available at: http://www.tandfonline.com/10.1080/17461391.2022.2079423
Useful Links:
Depositing User: Laura Wilson
Date Deposited: 25 May 2022 09:30
Last Modified: 06 Jun 2022 15:17
URI: https://eprints.mdx.ac.uk/id/eprint/35155

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