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UPDATE: Men with Eating Disorders at High Risk of Osteoporosis

Reprinted from Eating Disorders Review
January/February 2008 Volume 19, Number 1
©2008 Gürze Books

Osteoporosis has traditionally been considered a woman's medical problem, but males with anorexia nervosa, binge-purge subtype (ANB), may also have severe bone disease, according to researchers from the University of Iowa and Denver Health Medical Center. As Drs. Arnold Andersen and Phil Mehler reported at the annual meeting of the Eating Disorders Research Society in Pittsburgh last October, the risk of osteoporosis in males with eating disorders may actually be greater than for their female counterparts; this is particularly true for men with AN. The researchers reviewed the charts of 70 consecutive male admissions to an eating disorder program, and extracted data on diagnosis, weight history, comorbid disease, and bone mineral density, which was measured by dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry. Thirty-six percent (19 of 53) of the men had osteopenia, and 26% (14 of 53) had osteoporosis at the lumbar spine. A disproportionate number of men with ANB had osteoporosis. Other risk factors included older age, lower weights, and longer duration of disease. The bone densities of males with restricting-type AN or with ANB were significantly lower than for their female counterparts (P=0.03 and P=0.02, respectively). When the data were reviewed with multivariate stepwise linear regression, lower weight and duration of illness accounted for 49% of the variance at the lumbar spine in the men in the study.


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