Study Shows Increased Fracture Risk For Girls with Anorexia Nervosa
Jun 13, 2014 - 1:25:13 PM

( - DEERFIELD, Ill. - June 11, 2014 - Results from a newly published study in the July 2014 issue of the International Journal of Eating Disorders, the official journal of the Academy for Eating Disorders, indicate that the development of Anorexia Nervosa (AN) markedly increased the risk of fractures during childhood and adolescence in girls with AN when compared to those without a history of AN. Although previously demonstrated in adults, this is the first published study that has examined fracture risk in adolescents with AN. Notably, investigators found increased fracture prevalence even without a significantly lower amount of bone mineral density (BMD), a marker of bone health that is often used to assess fracture risk. The rate of fractures peaked in early adolescence for all girls in the study, but the rate of fractures peaked again in later adolescence for the girls diagnosed with AN, which is not typical in the general population. Amount of exercise was not related to the prevalence of fractures in the AN group.

AN is known to interfere with healthy skeletal growth, and the clinical course of AN can be variable and marked by periods of recovery and relapse. Given such, the authors conclude that a single BMD measurement during adolescence is unlikely to fully reflect long-term fracture risk. Therefore, repeated BMD measurement, in conjunction with evaluation of other components of bone health, is recommended to better predict fracture risk in girls with AN. Debra Katzman, an author of the study, states, "Anorexia Nervosa (AN) in adolescents has profound consequences on bone health. Not only are adolescents with AN less likely to reach their peak bone mass, but our study showed that young people are at  increased risk for fracture early on in life reflecting the significant skeletal deterioration that takes place in adolescents with AN."

This study supports the importance of early intervention and appropriate medical monitoring for girls with AN, and/or a history of AN, to prevent fractures and promote bone health. "It is crucial to diagnosis these young people early and provide aggressive treatment for their eating disorder to ensure that they optimize their peak bone mass and recover from these life-threatening illnesses," states Katzman.

This study was a multi-site partnership among specialized treatment centers for Anorexia Nervosa across the United States and Canada.

About the AED

The Academy for Eating Disorders is a global and trans-disciplinary professional organization with more than 1,600 members from 49 countries worldwide. AED provides educational resources and platforms for professional dialogue, training, and collaboration through its publications, including the International Journal of Eating Disorders, annual International Conference on Eating Disorders, clinical teaching days and other programs. Visit for more information.

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