Insufficient assessment and treatment of vitamin D in the medical management of adolescents with anorexia nervosa

Insufficient assessment and treatment of vitamin D in the medical management of adolescents with anorexia nervosa. 

Purpose: Suboptimal vitamin D levels are implicated in low bone mineral density, a common medical complication of anorexia nervosa.

This study aimed to examine the frequency of vitamin D assessment and treatment for adolescents with anorexia nervosa in outpatient medical management.

Design and methods: Retrospective chart review was used to examine 179 adolescents (M age = 15.5 years, SD = 2.2), newly diagnosed with anorexia nervosa at a tertiary care medical center in the United States between January 2000 and July 2016. Results: Only 16% of patients (n = 29) received serum vitamin D assessments following diagnosis, of whom 52% had suboptimal vitamin D levels (n = 15). Only three patients with suboptimal vitamin D were advised to begin supplementation. No patients in our sample were encouraged to begin prophylactic vitamin D supplementation.

Conclusions/practice implications: Findings from this study highlight the critical need for widespread care team education about vitamin D assessment and treatment in the medical management of adolescents with anorexia nervosa, particularly in light of the potentially serious consequences of bone mineral density. PMID: 34216879 DOI: 10.1016/j.pedn.2021.06.014, J Pediatr Nurs. 2021 Jun 30;60:177-180.

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