Prospective Longitudinal Assessment of Linear Growth and Adult Height in Female Adolescents with Anorexia Nervosa

Dalit Modan-Moses*, Amit Yaroslavsky, Orit Pinhas-Hamiel, Yael Levy-Shraga, Brigitte Kochavi, Sharon Iron-Segev, Adi Enoch-Levy, Anat Toledano, Daniel Stein

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Context: Growth retardation is an established complication of anorexia nervosa (AN); however, findings concerning the adult height of AN patients are inconsistent. Objective: The objective of this work was to assess linear growth and adult height in female adolescents with AN. Design and Setting: A prospective observational study was conducted in a tertiary university hospital. Participants: Participants included all 255 female adolescent AN patients hospitalized in the pediatric psychosomatic department between January 1, 2000 and May 31, 2015. Interventions: Height and weight were assessed at admission and during hospitalization. Patients were subsequently invited for measurement of adult height. Additional data collected included premorbid height data, menstrual history, skeletal age, pertinent laboratory studies, and parental heights. Main Outcome Measure: The main outcome measure of this study was adult height. Results: Mean age at admission was 15.4 ± 1.75 years, mean body mass index (BMI) was 15.7 ± 1.8 kg/m2 (BMI SDS = -2.3 ± 1.45 kg/m2). Premorbid height SD scores (SDS) were not significantly different from those expected in normal adolescents (0.005 ± 0.96). However, height SDS at admission (-0.36 ± 0.99), discharge (-0.34 ± 0.96), and at adult height (-0.29 ± 0.95), were significantly (P < .001) lower than expected. Furthermore, adult height was significantly (P = .006) shorter compared to the midparental target height. Stepwise forward linear regression analysis identified age (r = 0.32, P = .002) and bone age (r = -0.29, P = .006) on admission, linear growth during hospitalization (r = 0.47, P < .001), and change in luteinizing hormone during hospitalization (r = -0.265, P = .021) as independent predictors of improvement in height SDS from the time of admission to adult height. Conclusions: Whereas the premorbid height of female adolescent AN patients is normal, linear growth retardation is a prominent feature of their illness. Weight restoration is associated with catch-up growth, but complete catch-up is often not achieved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)E1-E10
JournalJournal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2021


  • adult height
  • anorexia nervosa
  • catch-up growth
  • malnutrition
  • target height
  • weight


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