Body fat and menstrual resumption in adult females with anorexia nervosa: a 1-year longitudinal study

J Hum Nutr Diet. 2016 Oct;29(5):662-6. doi: 10.1111/jhn.12373. Epub 2016 May 27.


Background: The variables predicting the resumption of menses in anorexia nervosa (AN) after weight restoration have not yet been fully established. We therefore aimed to investigate the association between several clinical parameters at inpatient discharge and the resumption of menses at 1-year follow-up in weight-restored adults with AN.

Methods: Demographic, anthropometric, body composition and eating disorder features were assessed in 54 adult females with AN who had restored normal body weight [body mass index (BMI) ≥ 18.5 kg m(-) ²] at the end of specialist inpatient treatment. These variables were compared between participants who had resumed menses and those who were still amenorrheic 1 year after inpatient discharge.

Results: At 1-year follow-up, 35.2% of patients had resumed menstruation. No significant association was found between the resumption of menses and either age, duration of illness or BMI at inpatient admission, nor for BMI, global Eating Disorder Examination score or trunk fat percentage at inpatient discharge. Only total body fat percentage at inpatient discharge was significantly higher in patients who resumed menstruation, as confirmed by combined logistic regression analysis (odds ratio = 1.14, 95% confidence interval = 1.001-1.303, P = 0.049).

Conclusions: A higher total body fat percentage at inpatient discharge is associated with the resumption of menses at 1-year follow-up in weight-restored adult females with AN.

Keywords: anorexia nervosa; body fat percentage; clinical outcome; eating disorders; menstrual resumption.

MeSH terms

  • Adiposity*
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Amenorrhea / etiology
  • Amenorrhea / prevention & control*
  • Anorexia Nervosa / diet therapy
  • Anorexia Nervosa / physiopathology
  • Anorexia Nervosa / therapy*
  • Body Mass Index
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders
  • Female
  • Hospitals, General
  • Humans
  • Italy
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Menstruation
  • Middle Aged
  • Outpatient Clinics, Hospital
  • Patient Discharge
  • Thinness / etiology
  • Thinness / prevention & control*
  • Weight Gain
  • Young Adult