TOTAL BODY POTASSIUM FAT FREE WEIGHT AND MAXIMAL AEROBIC POWER IN CHILDREN WITH ANOREXIA NERVOSA

Authors

  • C. T. M. DAVIES,

    1. Department of Paediatrics, Karolinska Institutet at St. Göran's Children's Hospital and the Aeromedical Laboratory of the Swedish Medical Research Council at Gymnastik- och Idrottshögskolan, Stockholm, Sweden
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    • 1

      On leave of abscence from the Medical Research Council, Environment Physiology, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, Keppel Street, London WC IE 7HT

  • W. von DÖBELN,

    1. Department of Paediatrics, Karolinska Institutet at St. Göran's Children's Hospital and the Aeromedical Laboratory of the Swedish Medical Research Council at Gymnastik- och Idrottshögskolan, Stockholm, Sweden
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  • L. FOHLIN,

    1. Department of Paediatrics, Karolinska Institutet at St. Göran's Children's Hospital and the Aeromedical Laboratory of the Swedish Medical Research Council at Gymnastik- och Idrottshögskolan, Stockholm, Sweden
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    • 3

      Department of Paediatrics St. Göran's Children's Hospital S-11281 Stockholm Sweden

  • U. FREYSCHUSS,

    1. Department of Paediatrics, Karolinska Institutet at St. Göran's Children's Hospital and the Aeromedical Laboratory of the Swedish Medical Research Council at Gymnastik- och Idrottshögskolan, Stockholm, Sweden
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  • C. THORÉN

    1. Department of Paediatrics, Karolinska Institutet at St. Göran's Children's Hospital and the Aeromedical Laboratory of the Swedish Medical Research Council at Gymnastik- och Idrottshögskolan, Stockholm, Sweden
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Abstract

ABSTRACT. Body Composition and aerobic work performance have been studied in 5 boys and 10 girls suffering from anorexia nervosa. The average ages of the two groups of children were 15.4 (boys) and 15.2 (girls) years respectively. Measurements of body composition included height, weight (W), body potassium (40K), skinfold thickness (SFT) at triceps and subscapularis, blood volume (BV) and femoral condylar and radioulnar breadths. From these measurements estimates of fat free weight (FFW), skeletal weight (S) and lean body mass (LBM) were made. Work performance was assessed by measurement of the maximal aerobic power (VO2 max). The patients had lost on average 26 % of their former body weight. The boys had on average >7 % of their body weight as fat compared with >9 % in the girls. However, the loss of weight was not solely due to loss of body fat, but could also be ascribed to a decrease in soft fatfree tissue. LBM or FFW could be estimated as well from SFT as from 40K. VO2 max averaged 1.43 1/min (35.1 ml/kg/min) in the anorexic boys and 1.24 1/min (33.2 ml/kg/min) in the girls and was associated with FFW and LBM. However, Vo, max was lower in relation to LBM than in healthy children of the same age. Thus it was suggested that the emaciation in anorexia is directly attributable to loss of both fat and muscle and accounts in part for the reduction of aerobic power observed. However, an important factor may be the debilitating effect of starvation on the patient, particularly in its advanced and later stages, which reduces his/her level of habitual physical activity.

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