Date of Award


Degree Type

Honors College Thesis

Academic Program

Nutrition and Dietetics BS


Nutrition and Food Systems

First Advisor

Holly Huye, Ph.D.

Advisor Department

Nutrition and Food Systems


Despite the health benefits associated with regular exercise, some female athletes experience menstrual dysfunction and low bone mineral density associated with low energy availability as a result of a high volume of exercise and inadequate caloric intake; these three components characterize the female athlete triad (FAT). Prior research explored the severity of the FAT, pre-season screenings, and nutrition intervention methods; however, current research regarding the relationship between the risk for developing the FAT and access to nutrition resources is lacking. The purpose of this study was to assess the risk of female athletes at two Mississippi universities for developing the FAT and determine if there is a correlation between risk for developing the FAT and access to nutrition resources such as a dietitian or peer education programs. Participants were recruited through an email sent to female athletes on eight teams at each university. An online survey incorporating the LEAF-Q and BSQ-16B regarding the athlete’s risk for developing the FAT and body satisfaction, respectively, was used to collect data. Participants were also asked about prior nutrition education history, knowledge of the FAT, and demographic questions. Results of this study show a significant difference (p = .007) in mean risk for FAT at The University of Mississippi (M = 8.12) as compared to The University of Southern Mississippi (M = 8.77). Participants in this study classified as at risk for the FAT (n = 12) were significantly more likely (χ 2 = 4.930, df = 1, p = .026) to have previous nutrition education by a registered dietitian. No significant differences were found between BSQ and LEAF-Q scores or LEAF-Q scores relationship with knowledge of the FAT and sport. Furthermore, appropriate nutrition resources for female athletes and athletes in general can provide v necessary information about adequate nutrition for performance and basic healthy body functions.