Dancers’ Bone Health: The Cost of Professionalism in the Dance World

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

In the world of dance, achieving professional status requires immense dedication and sometimes even sacrifice. This is why researchers at the Performing Arts Medicine Clinic at UNT Health Science Center in Fort Worth are studying the impact of these sacrifices on dancers’ health, particularly their bone health. Dr. Yein Lee, director of the UNT Health Science Center Performing Arts Medicine Fellowship, has seen a high prevalence of stress injuries and fractures among dancers they have treated.

Female ballet dancers are especially vulnerable to these issues due to their need to maintain a specific body type that can lead to eating disorders and calorie restrictions. Dr. Stephen Fung, a Performing Arts Medicine Fellow 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.

Bethany Bailey, a dance student and teacher at TCU, has been involved in ballet since she was three years old. She highlighted the prevalence of eating disorders in the dance world and the efforts many departments are making to combat these issues. 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.

One of the research goals is to develop a self-assessment checklist that female ballet dancers can use to evaluate their risk factors for stress injuries and fractures. This tool could also be beneficial for female athletes in general as they pursue their passions while maintaining their health. Ultimately, this research aims to keep dancers healthy so that they can continue doing what they love while promoting overall well-being for themselves and others in the dance community.

In conclusion, it is essential for researchers to understand the impact of sacrificing dedication for achieving professional status in dance on its performers’ health, particularly their bone health. By developing tools such as self-assessment checklists that focus on women due to biological differences between men and women, we can promote healthy practices among female ballet dancers while encouraging them to pursue their passion without compromising their health or well-being.

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