Mahurin Honors College Capstone Experience/Thesis Projects


Family and Consumer Sciences

Document Type



Young adult females who participate in endurance sports are at risk of developing Female Athlete Triad (FAT). The high prevalence of FAT among collegiate athletes and its potentially lifelong consequences substantiate the importance of relevant research. The objective of the present study is to identify the risk of FAT among the Western Kentucky University women’s cross country team, based on the presence or absence of the three FAT components, and to investigate the perceptions of those determined to be ‘at-risk.’ It was hypothesized that a preponderance of the WKU women’s cross country team would be considered ‘at risk’ for developing FAT, and that a relationship would be seen between the manifestation of the three FAT components and athletes’ perceptions regarding thinness and improved athletic performance. Analysis of participants’ food records and questionnaire responses supported these hypotheses. All participants displayed at least one FAT component, and a majority associated low body weight with athletic success. Outcomes suggest that manifestation of FAT correlates with athletes’ beliefs regarding thinness and performance, i.e., low body weight leads to improved performance.

Advisor(s) or Committee Chair

Margaret Cook-Newell


Dietetics and Clinical Nutrition | Other Public Health | Sports Sciences