High risk of osteoporosis in male patients with eating disorders

Int J Eat Disord. 2008 Nov;41(7):666-72. doi: 10.1002/eat.20554.


Objective: Osteoporosis has traditionally been considered a female problem. This study's purpose is to evaluate bone mineral density (BMD) in males with eating disorders.

Method: Charts of 70 consecutive males admitted to an eating disorder program were reviewed. Females admitted during the same time period were used for comparison. BMD was measured by dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry.

Results: Thirty-six percent (19/53) had osteopenia and 26% (14/53) had osteoporosis at the lumbar spine. A disproportionate number of males with anorexia restricting or binge/purge subtype (ANR/ANB) had osteoporosis, as well as those of older age, lower weights, and longer illness duration. BMD for ANR and ANB males was significantly lower than females (p = .02 and p = .03, respectively). In multivariate stepwise linear and logistic regression, lowest BMI and illness duration predicted lumbar Z-scores.

Conclusion: Males with ANR/ANB often have severe bone disease, which is worse than females, and is best predicted by a patient's lowest BMI and illness duration.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anorexia Nervosa / complications
  • Bone Density
  • Bulimia Nervosa / complications
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Comorbidity
  • Feeding and Eating Disorders / complications*
  • Humans
  • Iowa / epidemiology
  • Linear Models
  • Logistic Models
  • Lumbar Vertebrae / pathology
  • Male
  • Matched-Pair Analysis
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Osteoporosis / epidemiology
  • Osteoporosis / etiology*
  • Risk Factors
  • Sex Factors