The childhood athlete represents a dynamic endocrine system that changes as growth and pubertal maturation proceed. The endocrine systems act to maintain homeostasis while also regulating energy metabolism, and the elite athlete encounters unique stressors to both systems. Of particular relevance are the endocrine axes regulating growth hormone (GH) and insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1) production, the adrenal glands, and the reproductive system. The adrenal axis is critical for the management of stress, including that associated with strenuous physical training. GH and IGF-1 secretions undergo dramatic increases in association with pubertal maturation. All of these systems are closely tied to energy metabolism. Regulation of energy intake relative to expenditure is controlled by a complex system of chemical and behavioral factors. Many of these chemical factors, particularly leptin and ghrelin, are also intimately tied to regulation of pubertal maturation, thus mediating a relationship between net energy availability and growth and development.
- Energy expenditure
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