Tuesday, June 03, 2008

The "other end of the spectrum"

This article in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel caught my eye the other day. Whoever wrote the headline--"Young females may be on the path to poor bone nutrition"--missed the real point here, which to my mind is captured in these paragraphs:

One of the most surprising findings was that nearly twice as many of the non-athletes (30%) had poor bone health, compared with the athletes. More than 90% of the non-athletes also were getting insufficient calcium.

The finding shows that while overeating and obesity are problems for a significant number of adolescents, at the other end of the spectrum is a group of young girls who have poor nutrition habits, including not eating enough.

Yes, folks, despite 200+ years of knowledge about eating disorders, we are still surprised to hear that some young women do not eat enough.

Sarcasm aside, I am thrilled beyond measure to read things like this:

"A lot of times we are so focused on obesity that it can play into eating disorders," said Sheila Dugan, an assistant professor of physical medicine and rehabilitation at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago. Dugan was not a part of the study.

Yes, yes, and yes. I am terrified that 5 or 10 years from now, when the children who are now getting a whopping dose of "wellness" curricula in elementary schools hit adolescence, we're going to see a spike in the number of cases of eating disorders.

The last time I tried to make this point to someone In Charge (in this case, a new head of a university hospital's child and adolescent programs), she looked at me like I had two heads.

But osteoporosis is a quantifiable measure. It's not a subjective assessment of eating habits or self-reported nutrition. It's undeniable numbers and for that I am grateful. If that's what it takes to get those In Charge to pay attention, that's a good thing.

Now, who's listening out there?

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