Low Energy Availability (LEA) is a very real condition that affects both males and females. It is a condition that occurs when an athlete neglects or fails to consume enough food to fuel their body’s demands. This can lead to a calorie deficit, which over time, can lead to depleted energy stores, fatigue, decreased performance and a higher risk of injury.
LEA can result from restrictive diets, over-exercising, weight loss efforts or a combination of these factors. Female athletes may be at a higher risk for LEA, which can result in menstrual irregularities, decreased bone density and an increased risk of osteoporosis.
Prevention and treatment involve ensuring that active individuals are consuming enough calories to meet their energy demands, prioritising nutrient dense foods and developing a healthy relationship with food. Ultimately, by prioritising sports nutrition and education on healthy eating habits we can help prevent LEA, enhance athletic performance and promote long term health and well-being
Find out more from the HPSNZ resource page on LEA: