Breaking the Mold: Understanding and Addressing the Health Concerns of Ballet Dancers

Researchers in Fort Worth are studying the health of female ballet dancers – NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth

A study conducted by researchers at the Performing Arts Medicine Clinic at UNT Health Science Center in Fort Worth is shedding light on the sacrifices that ballet dancers make to reach the professional level and how they affect their health, specifically their bone health. Dr. Yein Lee, Fellowship Director at UNT Health Science Center, mentions that they often see these issues in clinic from a sports medicine perspective.

Dr. Stephen Fung, a Performing Arts Medicine Fellow, was motivated to find out why dancers experience stress injuries and fractures through his personal experience as a Dancesport competitor. His research focuses on women dancers, acknowledging the biological differences that can impact their health.

Historically, female ballet dancers have faced the pressure to be strong yet maintain a slender appearance. Dr. Fung highlights the importance of addressing the aesthetics that young dancers are concerned about during their training. This pressure may lead to body image issues, eating disorders, and calorie restriction among dancers seeking a certain look.

Bethany Bailey, a dance student and teacher at TCU, adds to the discussion by mentioning the prevalence of eating disorders in the dance community. She emphasizes the importance of promoting a healthy mindset and body image in dance departments. Bailey shares her personal experience with ballet, which she has been involved in since childhood.

Researchers at UNT Health Science Center are working towards creating a self-assessment checklist for women ballet dancers to identify their risk factors and promote their overall health and enjoyment of dancing. The goal is to support dancers in staying healthy while pursuing their passion for ballet.

The study conducted by Dr Stephen Fung aims to understand why dancers experience stress injuries and fractures through his personal experience as a Dancesport competitor.

Historically, female ballet dancers have faced pressure to be strong yet maintain a slender appearance which leads them to body image issues and eating disorders.

Bethany Bailey adds to the discussion by mentioning how prevalent eating disorders are within the dance community and emphasizes promoting healthy mindset and body image in dance departments.

Researchers at UNT Health Science Center are working on creating a self-assessment checklist for women ballet dancers which will help identify risk factors that affect their bone health while promoting overall well-being.

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