Beyond the Spotlight: How Dancers’ Sacrifices Impact their Bone Health and the Need for Healthy Practices

Researchers in Fort Worth Investigate Health of Female Ballet Dancers – NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth

In the world of dance, dedication and sacrifice are often necessary to reach the professional level. However, these sacrifices can have a negative impact on the health of dancers, particularly their bone health. Researchers at the Performing Arts Medicine Clinic at UNT Health Science Center in Fort Worth are studying this impact and looking for ways to promote healthy practices among dancers.

Dr. Yein Lee, director of the UNT Health Science Center Performing Arts Medicine Fellowship, has noted a high prevalence of stress injuries and fractures in dancers that they have treated. Dr. Stephen Fung, a fellow at the clinic and former competitive dancer, noticed this trend during his fellowship and decided to launch a study to identify risk factors and solutions. He emphasized the importance of focusing on women due to biological differences between men and women.

Female ballet dancers are traditionally required to be strong but not too muscular, which can lead to body image issues, eating disorders, and calorie restrictions, especially at the pre-professional stage. Bethany Bailey, a dance student and teacher at TCU who has been involved in ballet since she was three years old, highlighted these issues and the efforts many departments are making to combat them. Dr. Lee mentioned a cultural shift within the dance community towards prioritizing health and wellness for dancers and providing support to ensure they can enjoy their passion in a healthy way.

The ultimate goal of this research is to develop a self-assessment checklist that female ballet dancers can use to evaluate their risk factors for bone health issues. This tool could also be beneficial for female athletes in general as they pursue their passions while maintaining good overall health.

In conclusion, promoting healthy practices among dancers is crucial for their long-term success both on and off stage

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