Dancers: Balancing Passion and Health: The Impact of Dedication on Bone Health

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

Dancers are known for their dedication and passion, but the high level of physical demands and mental pressure can also take a toll on their health. Researchers at the Performing Arts Medicine Clinic at UNT Health Science Center in Fort Worth are studying the impact of these sacrifices on dancers, particularly their bone health.

Dr. Yein Lee, the director of the UNT Health Science Center Performing Arts Medicine Fellowship, has noticed a high prevalence of stress injuries and fractures in dancers they have treated. Dr. Stephen Fung, a Performing Arts Medicine Fellow and former competitive dancer, took notice of 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 at the pre-professional stage. Bethany Bailey, a dance student and teacher at TCU, highlighted this prevalence of eating disorders in the dance world and the efforts many departments are making to combat these issues. Lee mentioned that there is 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 research goal 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 to maintain their health while pursuing their passions. The ultimate aim of this research is to keep dancers healthy so that they can continue doing what they love while promoting overall well-being.

In conclusion, ballet requires dedication but it also comes with its own set of challenges that affect not only physical but also mental health. Researchers at UNT Health Science Center are working towards developing solutions that help promote healthy habits among female ballet dancers while keeping them healthy enough to perform on stage without compromising their well-being or passion for dance.

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