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November 1996

Weight Perception of Adolescent Dancing School Students

Author Affiliations

The Presbyterian Hospital 622 W 168th St New York, NY 10032

Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 1996;150(11):1221. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1996.02170360111025

I read with great interest the article by Vaisman et al, titled "Weight Perception of Adolescent Dancing School Students."1 As one who has been interested in both ballet and anorexia nervosa for many years, and who has studied the students at New York's Joffrey Ballet School,2I was struck by the concluding remarks of Vaisman et al who stated:

In the light of increased incidence of eating disorders and anorexia nervosa in recent years, we suggest that physicians and nutritionists be associated with ballet schools to prevent such occurrences.

The authors imply (unless I misunderstood them) that balletic activities and the poor dietary intake for which ballerinas are famous, can lead to anorexia nervosa. From my point of view, nothing can be farther from the truth. Although they share similar diets and similar thoughts about body configuration, ballerinas are very different from anorexic individuals. Ballerinas do not "catch"