Document Type


Subject Area(s)

Absorptiometry, Photon; Adult; Bone Density; Feeding and Eating Disorders (diagnosis, epidemiology); Female; Female Athlete Triad Syndrome (diagnosis, epidemiology); Humans; Prevalence; Surveys and Questionnaires; Young Adult


The purpose of this study was to examine individual and combined Female Athlete Triad components within collegiate cheerleaders, an at-risk group. Cheerleaders ( = 19; age: 20.3 ± 1.2 years) completed anthropometric measurements, health history questionnaires, resting metabolic rate, the eating disorder inventory-3 and symptom checklist, blood sample, and DXA scan. Participants completed dietary and exercise logs for 7 days and used heart rate monitors to track daily and exercise energy expenditure. Proportions were calculated for low energy availability (LEA) risk, disordered eating risk, and pathogenic behaviors. Chi-square analysis was used to determine the difference between cheerleaders who experience low EA with or without disordered eating risk. All cheerleaders demonstrated LEA for the days they participated in cheerleading practice, 52.6% demonstrated LEA with eating disorder risk and 47.4% demonstrated LEA without eating disorder risk, 52.6% self-reported menstrual dysfunction, 14% experienced menstrual dysfunction via hormonal assessment, and 0% demonstrated low bone mineral density. Overall, 47.7% presented with one Triad component, 52.6% demonstrated two Triad components using self-reported menstrual data, and 10.5% demonstrated two Triad components using hormonal assessments. All cheerleaders displayed LEA. These findings support the need for increased education on the individual components of the Triad and their potential consequences by qualified personal.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

APA Citation

Smith, A. B., Gay, J. L., Arent, S. M.,Sarzynski M. A., Emerson, D.M., and Torres-McGehee, T. M. (2022). Examination of the prevalence of female athlete triad components among competitive cheerleaders. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 19(3), 1375.


© 2022 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license.