BACKGROUND & AIMS:
No study has yet compared body fat distribution before and after weight restoration in adolescent and adult patients with anorexia nervosa (AN) treated according to the same protocol. The study was set up to measure body fat distribution before and after short-term weight restoration in adolescent and adult patients with AN treated according to the same protocol in a specialist inpatient unit.
We recruited 33 consecutive adolescent female patients with AN, and 33 controls matched by age and post-treatment BMI centile, as well as 33 adult female patients with AN, and 33 controls matched by age and post-treatment BMI. Dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) was used to assess body composition before and after short-term weight restoration (BMI ≥ 18.5 kg/m²).
Compared with controls, both adolescents and adults with AN showed that a greater amount of fat was lost from the extremities than the trunk before weight restoration, and that there was a central adiposity phenotype after short-term weight restoration. There were no significant differences in body fat distribution between adolescents and adults with AN before or after short-term weight restoration.
Adolescent and adult females with AN have similar body fat distribution both before and after short-term weight restoration, and show a central adiposity phenotype after short-term weight restoration. The clinical implications of this finding are as yet unknown. Clinical Trials Registry- Regional Fat Distribution in Adolescent Girls and Adults with Anorexia Nervosa (ISRCTN73572502).
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