2023 International Olympic Committee consensus statement on REDs
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has published a 2023 consensus statement on relative energy deficiency in sports (REDs), featuring the contributions of several researchers from the Wu Tsai Human Performance Alliance. Among the committee members were Margo Mountjoy, Kathryn Ackerman, Louise Burke, Trent Stellingwerff, and Ida Heikura.
The consensus statement introduces an updated set of Conceptual Models that provide a new perspective on low energy availability (LEA). Specifically, the models emphasize that LEA exists on a spectrum that ranges from adaptable to problematic. If athletes spend too long or are too severely exposed to the problematic range – meaning they don’t get enough energy – REDs becomes a concern. Adaptable LEA is mild and/or transient, with benign effects, meaning their brief bout of low energy is unlikely harmful.
Significant scientific advancements since the 2018 REDs consensus statement include:
- Recognizing the additive impact of low carbohydrate availability alongside LEA in REDs development.
- Overlapping symptoms between REDs and overtraining syndrome.
- Time-course of biomarker responses to problematic LEA in the development of REDs.
- Mental health associations of REDs.
- Progress in knowledge regarding REDs in male athletes.
- Specific insights into REDs among para athletes.
Beyond summarizing recent findings in the field, the consensus statement also introduces a new REDs Physiological Model template, describes a validated REDs Clinical Assessment Tool-Version 2 (IOC REDs CAT2), and provides practical clinical and methodological research guidelines to promote athlete health and well-being.
Read the full consensus statement published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine
Read the full IOC REDs Special Edition with editorials and reviews
First image credit: Adobe Stock Free Collection
February 2, 2024
Latest Alliance research at the 2024 ORS Annual Meeting
January 19, 2024
Workshop on musculoskeletal tissue regulation, injury prevention, and regeneration for human performance
January 10, 2024
Female athlete research camp: A unique research approach
Join our mailing list to receive the latest information and updates on the Wu Tsai Human Performance Alliance.