The Association of a High Drive for Thinness With Energy Deficiency and Severe Menstrual Disturbances: Confirmation in a Large Population of Exercising Women

in International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism
Restricted access

Purchase article

USD $24.95

Student 1 year subscription

USD $87.00

1 year subscription

USD $116.00

Student 2 year subscription

USD $165.00

2 year subscription

USD $215.00

A high drive-for-thinness (DT) score obtained from the Eating Disorder Inventory-2 is associated with surrogate markers of energy deficiency in exercising women. The purposes of this study were to confirm the association between DT and energy deficiency in a larger population of exercising women that was previously published and to compare the distribution of menstrual status in exercising women when categorized as high vs. normal DT. A high DT was defined as a score ≥7, corresponding to the 75th percentile for college-age women. Exercising women age 22.9 ± 4.3 yr with a BMI of 21.2±2.2 kg/m2 were retrospectively grouped as high DT (n = 27) or normal DT (n = 90) to compare psychometric, energetic, and reproductive characteristics. Chi-square analyses were performed to compare the distribution of menstrual disturbances between groups. Measures of resting energy expenditure (REE) (4,949 ± 494 kJ/day vs. 5,406 ± 560 kJ/day, p < .001) and adjusted REE (123 ± 16 kJ/LBM vs. 130 ± 9 kJ/LBM, p = .027) were suppressed in exercising women with high DT vs. normal DT, respectively. Ratio of measured REE to predicted REE (pREE) in the high-DT group was 0.85 ± 0.10, meeting the authors’ operational definition for an energy deficiency (REE:pREE <0.90). A greater prevalence of severe menstrual disturbances such as amenorrhea and oligomenorrhea was observed in the high-DT group (χ2 = 9.3, p = .003) than in the normal-DT group. The current study confirms the association between a high DT score and energy deficiency in exercising women and demonstrates a greater prevalence of severe menstrual disturbances in exercising women with high DT.

The authors are with the Dept. of Kinesiology, Penn State University, University Park, PA.

International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism