Judith Haudum

Relative Energy Deficiency in Sports

In 2014, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) spoke of Relative Energy Deficiency in Sports (REDs; Relative Energy Deficiency Syndrome in Sport) for the first time and published the first Consensus Statement in this context. In the meantime, two updates have followed (2018, 2023). Many scientific contributions have also been published in recent years and a lot of data and observations have been collected. All of this helps sports experts to better understand the syndrome, to work preventively and to support those people who are affected by REDs.

It is a complex syndrome, but it is an important topic that experiences should know about. For this reason, but not only, I have repeatedly tried for several years to draw people's attention to REDs so that athletes and their environment have heard about them, know how to avoid them and what the consequences are. I was also involved in one of the latest REDS articles, which were published to him as part of the new Consensus Statement. It is therefore not surprising that I am delighted that this topic was also presented to the general public in a great contribution with the ORF today. Excellently put together by Karoline Rath-Zoberning. (Sport on Sunday, ORF1).

What does it mean for all of us? Let us encourage our athletes to supply their bodies with sufficient energy. The consequences sometimes come later (osteoporosis), but then they are alone with their problems. A healthy body not only performs better, it also makes our lives more beautiful and pain-free. The line of thought “being lighter and having minimal body fat levels means better performance” is wrong and not scientifically proven. What we do know, however, is that an undernourished body breaks down due to an excessive deficit. It is important to prevent this. Nor can this outcome be the goal in sport.

Here is the link to the article (available until Nov 4, 2023): ORF TV library

Complementary literature:

Mountjoy et al (2014). The IOC Consensus Statement: Beyond the Female Athlete Triad--Relative Energy Deficiency in Sport (RED-S). Br J Sports Med Apr; 48 (7): 491-7. doi: 10.1136/bjsports-2014-093502.

Mountjoy et al (2018). IOC Consensus Statement on Relative Energy Deficiency in Sport (RED-S): 2018 update. Br J Sports Med, Jun; 52 (11): 687-697. doi: 10.1136/bjsports-2018-099193.

Mountjoy et al (2023). 2023 International Olympic Committee's (IOC) Consensus Statement on Relative Energy Deficiency in Sport (REDs). Br J Sports Med, Sep 57 (17): 1073-1097. doi: 10.1136/bjsports-2023-106994.

Mathisen et al (2023). Best practice recommendations for body composition considerations in sport to reduce health and performance risks: a critical review, original survey and expert opinion by a subgroup of the IOC consensus on Relative Energy Deficiency in Sport (REDs). Br J Sports Med, Sep 57 (17): 1148-1158. doi: 10.1136/bjsports-2023-106812.

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