Effects of Anorexia Nervosa on Final Height Among Hospitalized Teens

Most males and females did not catch up to normal levels after treatment.

Reprinted from Eating Disorders Review
September/October 2010 Volume 21, Number 5
©2010 Gürze Books

Daniel Stein, MD, and a group of Israeli researchers in the Pediatric Psychosomatic Department in Tel Hashomer, Israel, recently studied the growth characteristics and final height in male and female adolescents hospitalized for treatment of anorexia nervosa (AN). For female patients, they used two designs: a retrospective chart review, including all 211 AN patients hospitalized between January 1987 to December 1999. Final height was measured in 69 patients and complete data was available for 29 of the patients. Then, the researchers used a prospective design approach in which 72 adolescent inpatients were assessed from the time of admission until they reached their ultimate height. Premorbid height data were available for 34 patients. The final heights were significantly lower than expected for normal adolescent girls.


As they reported in Salzburg, their findings were similar when they evaluated 14 male adolescents with AN who were hospitalized in the authors’ department. Their findings suggest that whereas the premorbid height of female and male adolescents hospitalized for treatment of AN is normal, linear growth retardation is a prominent feature of their illness. Weight restoration usually is associated with some catch-up growth, but complete catch up is not usually achieved.

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