Energy availability in female athletes with disabilities: a narrative review




Research on female athletes has increased, with the main focus on Low Energy Availability (LEA) and Female Athlete Triad (TRIAD), however there is a gap in knowledge about LEA and related conditions such as eating disorder, menstrual dysfunction and bone health in athletes with disabilities. The literature suggests that those athletes, depending on the type of disability, have a higher risk of developing LEA. In this way, the objective of this review is to describe the impact of LEA on health and performance of female athletes, with special focus on athletes with disabilities. A narrative review of the literature was conducted using as search terms LEA and TRIAD components - bone health and menstrual dysfunction - in female athletes. The narrative review yielded 24 studies on the subject, of those, 10 original studies, in which LEA was diagnosed in female athletes, only one referring to athletes with disabilities. Literature indicates the complexity in estimating EA, since the methods used to determine its components may present inaccuracies, especially for athletes with disabilities. Further researched is needed to assess EA in female athletes, especially with disabilities, as well as the improvement of EA's assessment and screening methods.


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Disability, Education, Technology and Sport