Healthy Body Image

When girls and women practise sport, they can profit from many health benefits.

While these positive attributes far outweigh the risks involved in sports participation, there is scientific evidence that, under certain circumstances, the healthy body image of some female athletes can suffer through sport. In particular, the Relative Energy Deficiency in Sport (RED-S) can have a significant impact on the lives of the girls and women concerned.

The four “Hungry for Gold” videos are an educational tool aimed at athletes, parents, coaches and support staff, as well as administrators, informing them about the female athlete triad as well as the related health implications.

Through the experiences of our fictional characters, Anezka, Aiko, Tochi, Jesse and Akeyo featured in the “Hungry for Gold” videos, viewers

  • can learn about healthy eating and exercise habits,
  • understand the importance of a healthy body image, and
  • find out how to prevent the development of the female athlete triad

Do you want to learn more about issues that can put a healthy body image at risk?

The following information may be useful:

Learn more about the female athlete triad

Sport and exercise are part of a balanced, healthy lifestyle. But for some girls and women, especially in competitive sport, not balancing the needs of their bodies and their sports can have major consequences, called the female athlete triad.

The female athlete triad is a combination of three conditions: an energy deficit caused by unhealthy eating habits or excessive exercise, amenorrhea (disruption of menstruation) and osteoporosis (a weakening of the bones due to the loss of bone density and improper bone formation). A female athlete can have one, two, or all three parts of the triad.

For instance, when a female athlete’s energy intake is inadequate to meet energy expenditure, the reproductive cycle can be disrupted, and, subsequently, bone health may be affected. Some female athletes may respond to pressure to meet unrealistic weight or body fat levels with excessive dieting (anorexia nervosa or bulimia nervosa) and/or excessive exercise.

Having just one part of the triad is sufficient reason, however, for any girl or woman who wants to stay active to seek help. Talk to a family member, doctor, nurse, dietician, athletic trainer, physiotherapist, school counsellor or coach if you think that you may need help.

Advice for Athletes

Click here to read the educational info-sheet published by the Female Athlete Triad Coalition:

Medical Advice

The Medical Commission of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has brought together experts on this topic to exchange knowledge and endeavour to protect the health of female athletes as best as possible:

Click here to read the IOC Consensus Statement on the Female Athlete Triad
Click here to read the IOC Position Stand on the Female Athlete Triad

Advice for Coaches

NCAA Resources and Programmes
The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) is a US-based voluntary organisation which promotes a range of resources and programmes that aim to help athletes stay healthy and make the proper choices.

Click here to get to the NCAA programmes and resources for coaches.

back to top