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Bone Mineral Density in Collegiate Dance Majors Compared to Healthy Controls

Gregory S. Farnell, Valerie J. Williams, Kristin Bogda
From: Medical Problems of Performing Artists: Volume 33 Number 2: Page 90 (June 2018)

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Abstract: INTRODUCTION: The bone mineral density (BMD) status of dancers is currently unknown. Some research indicates that female dancers have no difference or higher BMD than non-dancers. Other evidence indicates they have lower BMD, predisposing them to osteoporosis and fractures later in life. These differences among studies may be due to differences in dancer type, age, level, and lack of control of confounding variables. Few studies have been completed on college-level dancers. PURPOSE: To evaluate BMD in female college-level dance majors. METHODS: 20 female multi-genre collegiate dance majors and 12 female non-dancer control subjects participated in the study. Each participant underwent three consecutive dual energy x-ray absorptiometry scans to determine BMD of the total body, dual femurs, and lumbar spine. Statistical analysis was completed by an independent samples t-test. RESULTS: The lumbar spine demonstrated a significant difference between groups (p=0.011), with dancers showing greater BMD (1.32±0.10 vs 1.21±0.12 g/cm2). There was no significant difference between groups for total body or dual femur BMD (p=0.104 and 0.175, respectively). CONCLUSION: College-level dancers may have higher BMD of their lumbar spine than non-dancers, but not in other areas. This area may have increased BMD due to loading from dance activity and warrants further investigation.

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