Two Coastal Carolina University professors are conducting a
to help educate females and female athletes in Horry County regarding
The two-part study is being conducted by Kathryn Hilgenkamp-
Rodgers, assistant professor of health promotion, and Sharon Thompson,
associate professor of health promotion.
Part one of the study, conducted by Hilgenkamp-Rodgers, is titled
"Reducing Risk of Osteoporosis Among College-Aged Females." The second
part of the study is being conducted by Thompson and is titled
"Osteoporosis Prevention for Female Athletes in High Risk Sports."
"The most important time for bone formation is between the ages of
10 and 30," said Thompson. "Our goal is to make young females aware of
the dangers of osteoporosis and to encourage them to develop a healthy
lifestyle early on in their lives to help prevent this disease. Some of
the factors that help reduce osteoporosis are sound nutritional and
exercise habits and an increase in calcium consumption. The calcium
requirement for teenage girls and young women is 1,200 milligrams per
According to Thompson, her study will look at a recently
recognized syndrome called the female athlete triad, which females
athletes who engage in extensive training may develop. The syndrome
consists of three distinct but interrelated conditions – eating
disorders, amenorrhea and osteoporosis. Amenorrhea refers to irregular
or absent menstrual periods.
The objectives of the study are to: (1) develop instructional
information regarding skeletal growth and maintenance, debilitative
effects of excessive protein consumption, detrimental effects from the
use of caffeine/nicotine/alcohol, and sources of calcium in the diet;
(2) include individuals from Coastal and the community in the planning
of programs designed to impact behaviors which will reduce the
incidence and severity of osteoporosis among females; (3) develop a
plan to continue with osteoporosis prevention in local schools and
educate athletes in high risk sports – gymnastics, ballet and long
distance running; (4) develop a plan with local hospitals and physical
therapists who offer sports physicals to Horry County students to offer
osteoporosis screening programs on a regular basis for female residents
in the county.
Hilgenkamp-Rodgers received her bachelor's degree from the
University of Nebraska-Lincoln, her master's degree from Southern
Illinois University-Carbondale and her doctoral degree from the
University of Nebraska-Lincoln. She has done post-doctoral study at the
University of Nebraska Medical Center and at the University of
Nebraska-Omaha. She is also a certified health education specialist.
Thompson, who joined the Coastal faculty in 1993, earned her
bachelor's degree from Clemson University and her master's degree and
Ed.D from the University of South Carolina. She is a certified health
education specialist and certified personal trainer. Thompson was named
the South Carolina Health Education Professional of the Year in 1997.