Anorexia nervosa may result in height impairment among young women

A young woman’s full height potential may be hindered due to complications associated with the eating disorder anorexia nervosa, new research in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism suggests.

As part of a new study, conducted by the Endocrine Society, their team of experts studied more than 200 female adolescents hospitalized with anorexia nervosa.

Anorexia nervosa is characterized by an irrational fear of gaining weight and body image, resulting in restricted food consumption, increased fitness, and purging behaviors.

In their study, the female participants’ height at the time of admission, discharge, and at adulthood, were measured.

“They measured their height at the time of admission, discharge and at adult height and found it was lower than expected,” an Endocrine Society news release states. “Adult height was significantly shorter than expected when compared to the genetic potential according to average of the patient’s mother and father’s heights.”

According to the findings, researchers suggest that early and intensive intervention for normalizing body weight, may lead to improved growth and give patients the capability to reach their full height potential.

“We suggest that the height impairment is a marker for other complications of anorexia nervosa affecting the person’s overall health in several aspects: bone health, cognitive function, and problems with pregnancy and childbirth later in life,” said Dalit Modan-Moses, co-author of the study, in the news release.

“Early diagnosis and treatment could prevent, or at least reduce, the risk of these complications.”

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