Other project members
Maria Gräfnings (Linnaeus University), Monica Klungland Tortsveit (University of Agder), Ida Lysdahl Fahrenholtz (University of Agder), Ina Garthe (Olympiatoppen), Sharon Madigan (Irish Institute of Sport), Karsten Köhler (Technical University of Munich)
University of Agder, Olympiatoppen, Norway
Sport Science (Department of Sport Science, Faculty of Social Sciences)
More about the project
Relative energy deficiency means that an athlete for long periods has a too low energy intake in relation to the amount of exercise and that the body therefore reduces resting metabolism and basic physiological processes to restore energy balance and prevent weight loss. Relative energy deficiency leads to hormonal changes, menstrual disorders, an increased risk of injury, osteoporosis and reduced performance. Other common symptoms are gastrointestinal problems, low blood sugar and low blood pressure and high cholesterol. A female athlete can therefore be weight stable but at the same time have a relative lack of energy and irregular or missed menstrual periods with an increased risk of ill health, injuries and reduced performance.
Linnaeus University, in collaboration with the University of Agder and Olympiatoppen in Norway as well as the Irish Institute of Sport and the Technical University of Munich, is conducting a treatment study on female competitive endurance athletes between the ages of 18–35 with symptoms of relative energy deficiency. The overall purpose of the research project is to increase the level of knowledge about relative energy shortages and to develop a 4-month web-based training and counseling program; FUEL (Food and nUtrition for Endurance athletes – a Learning program). FUEL intends to promote health in the short and long term through teaching and personal dietary advice with a specialized sports nutritionist and reduce the risk of injuries during continuous training periods, as well as promote increased performance in the specific sport.
The following two publications have so far been published on our results:
- Risk of Low Energy Availability, Disordered Eating, Exercise Addiction, and Food Intolerances in Female Endurance Athletes
- Effects of a 16-Week Digital Intervention on Sports Nutrition Knowledge and Behavior in Female Endurance Athletes with Risk of Relative Energy Deficiency in Sport
In the research project FUEL 2.0, Professor Monica Klungland Torstveit at the University of Agder, PhD student Maria Gräfnings at the University of Basel and Anna Melin continue the development and evaluation of the teaching and counseling program. FUEL 2.0 will also target male athletes, coaches and sports medicine personnel.
The project is part of the research in the Sustainable sport, performance and leadership research group.