Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Arts


Human Performance and Health Education

First Advisor

Dr. Mary L. Dawson

Second Advisor

Dr. Harold L. Ray

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Open Access


This study investigated the incidence of regular menstrual cycles, secondary amenorrhea and oligomenorrhea in collegiate female gymnasts, dance-majors and non-athletes. Menstrual cycle characteristics and eating attitudes were surveyed by questionnaire. Dietary status was determined by a 5 day dietary diary, and body composition was measured by hydrostatic weighing to determine the relationship of these variables with menstrual cycle status.

The frequency of amenorrhea, oligomenorrhea and regular cycles differed significantly (p<.05) between activity groups. The gymnasts reported the highest incidence of amenorrhea (16%) and oligomenorrhea (32%). A significant difference (p<.05) was found between activity groups for age at menarche, percent body fat, dietary status and eating attitudes.

Statistical analysis of the main effect of menstrual cycle status showed a significant difference for caloric intake and eating attitudes. The amenorrheic subjects consumed fewer calories and scored higher on the EAT compared to the regularly cycling subjects. A significant interaction, F(4,66)=2.88, p<.05, was found between activity group by menstrual cycle status for caloric intake.