The aim of this study is to estimate the ratio of male and female participants in Sports and Exercise Medicine research. Original research articles published in three major Sports and Exercise Medicine journals (Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, British Journal of Sports Medicine and American Journal of Sports Medicine) over a three-year period were examined. Each article was screened to determine the following: total number of participants, the number of female participants and the number of male participants. The percentage of females and males per article in each of the journals was also calculated. Cross tabulations and Chi-square analysis were used to compare the gender representation of participants within each of the journals. Data were extracted from 1382 articles involving a total of 6,076,580 participants. A total of 2,366,968 (39%) participants were female and 3,709,612 (61%) were male. The average percentage of female participants per article across the journals ranged from 35% to 37%. Females were significantly under-represented across all of the journals (χ(2) = 23,566, df = 2, p < 0.00001). In conclusion, Sports and Exercise Medicine practitioners should be cognisant of sexual dimorphism and gender disparity in the current literature.
Keywords: Sport Medicine; ethics; exercise; gender bias; muscle damage.