Girls and women across the world are participating in sport and exercise in record numbers. The physical and socio-psychological health benefits of regular exercise are well known, and athletic women are often publicly celebrated for their commitment and discipline. But sport and rigorous exercise are also associated with a unique set of risks for some women. In 1992, the American College of Sports Medicine coined the term the ‘Female Athlete Triad’ to illustrate the three separate but interrelated conditions of bone mineral loss, disordered eating, and amenorrhea. The Female Athlete Triad and chronic energy deficiency can have serious implications for reproductive, bone and cardiovascular health, as well as impaired mood, exercise training and sport performance.
This website is not intended to be alarmist. Rather, it aims to empower girls and women to experience the numerous benefits associated with exercise and high performance sport while avoiding the negative consequences of energy deficiency. The message is simple: Empower yourself, Get educated! It is designed specifically to provide female athletes, exercising girls and women, coaches and family with accessible information about the physiological, psychological and social aspects of low energy availability and the Female Athlete Triad.
The Fuel Aotearoa website provides girls and women, coaches, parents and teachers with research-informed knowledge on the risks of low energy availability and the Female Athlete Triad. But it goes well beyond the scientific facts and figures. It is a fun, lively website filled with voices and stories of athletes, exercisers and health professionals. It aims to remove some of the stigma and social silences surrounding this important health issue.