Prevalence and predictive factors for regional osteopenia in women with anorexia nervosa

Ann Intern Med. 2000 Nov 21;133(10):790-4. doi: 10.7326/0003-4819-133-10-200011210-00011.


Background: Anorexia nervosa is highly prevalent among young women.

Objective: To determine prevalence and predictive factors for regional bone loss.

Design: Prospective cohort analysis.

Setting: University hospital.

Patients: 130 women with anorexia nervosa.

Measurements: Dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry.

Results: The prevalence of osteopenia (-1.0 SD >/= T-score > -2.5 SD) and osteoporosis (T-score </= -2.5 SD) was 50% and 13% for the anterior-posterior spine, 57% and 24% for the lateral spine, and 47% and 16% for the total hip, respectively. Bone mineral density (BMD) was reduced by at least 1.0 SD at one or more skeletal sites in 92% of patients and by at least 2.5 SD in 38% of patients. Weight was the most consistent predictor of BMD at all skeletal sites. Twenty-three percent of patients were current estrogen users, and 58% were previous estrogen users. Bone mineral density did not differ by history of estrogen use at any site.

Conclusions: Bone mineral density is reduced at several skeletal sites in most women with anorexia nervosa. Weight, but not estrogen use, is a significant predictor of BMD in this population at all skeletal sites.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Absorptiometry, Photon
  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Anorexia Nervosa / complications*
  • Anorexia Nervosa / drug therapy
  • Anorexia Nervosa / physiopathology
  • Bone Density
  • Bone Diseases, Metabolic / epidemiology*
  • Bone Diseases, Metabolic / etiology
  • Estrogen Replacement Therapy
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Menarche
  • Osteoporosis / epidemiology
  • Osteoporosis / etiology
  • Prevalence
  • Prospective Studies
  • Regression Analysis