College of Health Sciences & Human Performance

Date of Award

8-2004

Document Type

Research Project Report

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Kinesiology

First Advisor

James Eldridge, Ed.D.

Second Advisor

Lois S. Hale, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Steve Aicinena, Ph.D.

Abstract

The number of women and young girls participating in sports has grown significantly since the passage of Title IX of the Educational Amendments Act of 1972. The female athlete derives many benefits from exercise; however, women are also a group that is at special risk because of the few negative effects of exercise on the reproductive and skeletal systems. Risks involved in increased physical activity include several forms of menstrual irregularities. The purpose of this study was to determine if a relationship existed between athletic training, at a less intense level than those in previous studies such as ballet dancers and gymnast, before menarche and age of menarche. Results showed that a relationship did exist between age of menarche of the common sport participation sample and the age of menarche of the national population. In addition, significant differences were found to exist within the sample between menarche and current weight, and between menarche and age at starting sports participation. A secondary analysis found that females in the current study, who started menarche on or before the age of 12.1 years, the national average, had a current mean weight higher than those individuals that started menarche after 12.1 years old. The results also showed that the athletes in this sample, who started playing sports before the age of 6, had a mean age of menarche of 13.1 which is significantly different from the national average, while the athletes who did not start participation until after the age of 6 had a mean menarche age of 11.85, which was not significantly different from the national average.

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