The Effects of Eating Disorders and Menstrual Irregularity on Bone Mineral Density in Sorority Women: A Cross-Sectional Study

Robertson, Rachel (2016) The Effects of Eating Disorders and Menstrual Irregularity on Bone Mineral Density in Sorority Women: A Cross-Sectional Study. Undergraduate thesis, under the direction of Martha Bass from Exercise Science, University of Mississippi.

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Abstract

Past research has reported bone loss among women diagnosed with eating disorders as a direct result of estrogen imbalance (Cobb et al., 2003; Gibson et al., 1999; Kim et al., 2012; Zuckerman-Levin et al., 2014). Menstrual irregularity may result from estrogen imbalance, which is characteristic of an eating disorder and ultimately causes bone loss. Past studies have focused on this three-way relationship between eating disorders, menstrual irregularity, and bone mineral density (BMD) specifically in female athletes (Cobb et al., 2003; Gibson, Mitchell, Reeve, & Harries, 1999) but rarely in recreationally trained or sedentary females. Previous research has also focused on the elderly female population due to the estrogen imbalance and high osteoporotic risk characteristic of menopause (Tella & Gallagher, 2014). Due to the reportedly high risk of eating disorders among college-age women who are sorority members, this population is at high risk for developing bone health issues. Therefore, the purpose of this study is to investigate the relationship between eating disorders, menstrual irregularity, and BMD in sorority women. Fifty women (ages 18-22 years, weight 138 ± 22.15 lbs., and BMI 23.5 ± 3.32) who are currently members of sororities, volunteered to participate in this study that included two surveys and a dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry (DXA) scan. The first survey investigated body image, eating habits, menstrual status, and dairy intake. The second survey investigated regular physical activity. The DXA scan measured BMD at lumbar spine, femur, and whole body. No participants were classified as having an eating iv disorder according to EDDS survey answer scoring; however, many answers suggest body image distortion and poor eating habits such as skipping meals. Statistical analysis determined that there was no significant relationship (p > .05) between physical activity and BMD, although further investigation should quantify physical activity intensities. There was no statistically significant relationship between menstrual irregularity and BMD (p > .05); however, fifty-two percent of participants were irregular, which may be the result of poor eating habits. There was a statistically significant relationship between dairy intake and BMD (p < .05) as well as BMI and BMD (p < .05). This study did not find a relationship between eating disorders, menstrual irregularity, and BMD in sorority women. However, we can report that a healthy BMI (18.5-24.9) and adequate dairy intake (3+ servings/day) has a positive impact on bone health in college-age women.

Item Type: Thesis (Undergraduate)
Creators: Robertson, Rachel
Student's Degree Program(s): B.S. Exercise Science
Thesis Advisor: Martha Bass
Thesis Advisor's Department: Exercise Science
Institution: University of Mississippi
Subjects: R Medicine > R Medicine (General)
R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine > RA0421 Public health. Hygiene. Preventive Medicine
Depositing User: Rachel Robertson
Date Deposited: 17 Jun 2016 15:24
Last Modified: 17 Jun 2016 15:24
URI: http://thesis.honors.olemiss.edu/id/eprint/709

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