The female athlete triad: prevalence in military women

Mil Med. 1999 Sep;164(9):630-5.


The objective of this study was to define the prevalence of the female athlete triad, i.e., the simultaneous occurrence of disordered eating, amenorrhea, and osteoporosis, in military women. A total of 423 active duty female soldiers participated in a three-part prospective, cross-sectional study. Part 1 entailed completing the Eating Disorder Inventory and a clinical interview with those women "at risk" for an eating disorder. Part 2 consisted of a clinical evaluation and laboratory studies of any woman with menstrual irregularities. Part 3 evaluated the bone mineral density of all women meeting the inclusion criteria for parts 1 and 2 using dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry. Of the 423 active duty women who participated in the study, no subject exhibited the full female athlete triad. Thirty-three women (8%) had an eating disorder and 109 women (26%) were at risk for an eating disorder. Our results suggest that the female athlete triad is not a clinically significant problem for the Army.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Amenorrhea / epidemiology*
  • Athletic Injuries / epidemiology*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Feeding and Eating Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Military Personnel / statistics & numerical data*
  • Osteoporosis / diagnostic imaging
  • Osteoporosis / epidemiology*
  • Population Surveillance
  • Prevalence
  • Prospective Studies
  • Radionuclide Imaging
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Washington / epidemiology