Relative Energy Deficiency in Sports (RED-S) is a phenomenon established by the International Olympic Committee to expand on the previously known condition as the female athlete triad, to include male athletes. Relative Energy Deficiency in Sports is a physiological functioning impairment due to athletes with low energy availability. Low energy occurs when athletes expend more energy (calorie burn with activity) than they consume (daily caloric intake) for an extended period. Leading to alter or impaired physiological function. College is a period where individuals gain their independence. Collegiate student-athletes are learning to juggle multiple aspects of their life. Along with excelling in the classroom, they need to develop physically to perform their sports. The increase of imposed demands as a new student-athlete can impact their performance and overall health if they are too overwhelmed. The purpose of this study was to assess the prevalence of RED-S in junior-college athletes. An online survey through Qualtrics was distributed to head athletic trainers at college institutions nationwide to be shared with their student-athletes. Among the 50 responses, only 43 responses were completed for analysis. Survey responses demonstrated collegiate athletes presented with body-image issues, negative eating habits, and high activity levels. All of the participants reported performing physical activity for at least 2 hours a day, and 18% reported being physically active between 5-6 hours daily. 5% of the participants felt guilty about eating, whereas 12% “sometimes” feel guilty about what they are consuming. Respondents expressed concern about weight gain and issues with body image. Eating disorders are only one spectrum of RED-S. Further investigation such as bone and hormonal analysis will be necessary to fully understand the prevalence of RED-S in collegiate athletics.
Nguyen, Johnny, "The Prevalence of RED-S Among College Athletes" (2022). Graduate Research Posters. 33.