Author ORCID Identifier

Date Available


Year of Publication


Degree Name

Master of Science in Nutrition and Food Systems (MSNFS)

Document Type

Master's Thesis


Agriculture, Food and Environment


Dietetics and Human Nutrition

First Advisor

Dr. Tammy Stephenson, PhD, FAND


Background: Low energy availability (LEA) is the underlying cause of Relative Energy Deficiency in Sport (RED-S) which negatively affects athletes' physiological function, health, and performance. RED-S results from inadequate dietary intake to support energy expenditure for daily living, growth, and optimal performance. It occurs in both male and female athletes, with or without disordered eating. However, screening and diagnosis in athletes can be difficult. Objective: This study aims to identify strong predictors of RED-S and assess its prevalence in collegiate male and female athletes. Methods: A total of 270 NCAA athlete test points from mixed sports were evaluated for RED-S scores based on body fat percentage and difference between actual and ideal body weight. Athletes completed a physical health questionnaire and a body composition assessment (BodPod®). The RED-S Cumulative Risk Assessment Chart was created from the questionnaire. Results: Weight difference alone was not correlated with RED-S score, but when BF% was included, weight difference became a significant predictor (p < 0.01). A lower weight difference below ideal body weight was predictive of RED-S only when body fat percentage was elevated. The study found a moderate RED-S risk in 30.1% of athletes. Conclusions: Weight difference was found to be an independent predictor of RED-S when controlling for BF%. Further research is needed to identify additional screening and prevention strategies for RED-S in collegiate athletes.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)