Bone density 11 years after anorexia nervosa onset in a controlled study of 39 cases

Int J Eat Disord. 2003 Nov;34(3):314-8. doi: 10.1002/eat.10192.


Objective: To evaluate bone mineral density (BMD) and body composition 11 years after the onset of anorexia nervosa (AN).

Method: Thirty-nine AN subjects (36 females, 3 males), selected from a population-based sample, and 46 matched controls (COMP; 43 females, 3 males) were examined by using double-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA). Only 2 women still had AN. None of the men had AN.

Results: The females in the AN and COMP groups did not differ regarding BMD, nor was there a difference across female groups concerning body mass index (BMI). The female AN group had a significantly lower percentage of body fat. BMD among females in the AN group was related to lowest BMI ever. There was an inverse relationship between lumbar BMD and AN duration.

Discussion: Low BMD is not overrepresented among weight-restored AN patients at long-term follow-up compared with healthy women. However, the inverse relationship between BMD and AN duration may be indicative of a risk for osteopenia in patients with subchronic and chronic AN.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Anorexia Nervosa / complications*
  • Body Composition*
  • Body Weight
  • Bone Density*
  • Bone Diseases, Metabolic / etiology
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Risk Factors