[Image Jorge Belarezo, City on Fire, 2006]
In a new study, scientists have found that anorexic girls store fat in their bone marrow. The article says it seems counterintuitive that girls with such low subcutaneous fat would have fat in their bones. But it makes sense to me. It’s probably the body’s way of trying to ensure its survival. Evidently (because storing that much fat in bone marrow is not normal), an anorexic’s bones have less than half as much healthy red marrow in their knees than a girl of average weight. This difference was also found in the lower thighbone and upper shinbone. The article states:
“Earlier studies had found that hormonal changes in malnourished people trigger the bone marrow’s mesenchymal stem cells to turn into fat cells rather than bone-forming cells. That could explain why people with anorexia lose bone mass and sometimes develop osteoporosis, the researchers said.”
“Bone formation is very low in girls with anorexia, and that’s a particular problem because they are growing adolescents who should be maximally forming bones,” Gordon said. “But because of the hormonal alterations induced by malnutrition, the bone marrow stops yielding the needed cells to form bone. Instead, the stem cells are pushed toward fat formation.”
So Mamas, don’t let your girls get too skinny. They may be thin, but they could also end up being hunchbacks.