8 February 2024

IFSC introduces policy to combat RED-S

The IFSC has introduced comprehensive regulations related to Relative Energy Deficiency in Sport (RED-S). "RED-S is a syndrome that affects health and performance and is caused by a mismatch between the calories eaten and burned during exercise. It can lead to many short- and long-term health and performance issues. "In short, the IFSC REDs Policy will require:

"Athletes to fill out two short questionnaires aimed at accumulating personal parameters for such criteria as height, weight, heart rate and blood pressure;

National Federations are to issue each athlete a health certificate or request more testing before providing “clearance” to the IFSC;

IFSC will initiate random and focussed testing of the following parameters (including BMI, heart rate, and blood pressure) throughout the competition season. The IFSC will also store the information provided by the National Federations;

An External Commission will review the data of suspected cases, comparing collected data with that of the National Federation health certificates."

IFSC President Marco Scolaris comments. “The new system underscores our commitment to the health of our athletes. The policy will not only help us determine which athletes are most at risk, it will also help raise awareness of the issue, provide help to those who need it, and ensure the rights of each athlete are protected.

The National Federations are key to the success of the new policy, as the health and welfare of the athletes fall under their jurisdiction at the national level. We look forward to collaborating with them closely on this matter.”

As an example, here are the scores and measurements that give an idea of who will be allowed to compete or if further testing is required

(ii. BMI: Males 18 years old and older < 18.5; Males 15 – 17 years old: < 18
Females 18 years old and older < 18, Females 15 – 17 years old: < 17.5
iii. Heart Rate: 18 years and older <40bpm; under 18 years old < 50bpm
iv. Blood Pressure: < 90/60 mm Hg)

Here are some examples of BMI:
(Body Mass Index (BMI) is a person's weight in kilograms divided by the square of height in meters.)
61 kg / (180 cm * 180 cm) = 18.8
54 kg / (170 cm * 170 cm) = 18.7
46 kg / (160 cm * 160 cm) = 18.0
40 kg / (150 cm * 150 cm) = 17.8
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