NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth reports on Fort Worth researchers’ investigation into the health of female ballet dancers.

According to Dr. Yein Lee, Director of the Performing Arts Medicine Clinic at UNT Health Science Center at Fort Worth, ballet is a performance art that demands dedication and sometimes requires sacrifice to reach the professional level. This research clinic is studying why these sacrifices can impact the health of dancers, specifically in terms of bone health.

Dr. Stephen Fung, a former competitive dancer and Performing Arts Medicine Fellow, noticed that stress-related injuries and fractures are common among dancers. He found that women dancers are particularly vulnerable due to their desire to maintain a certain aesthetic that may involve body dysmorphia and eating disorders. Bethany Bailey, a dancer and dance instructor at TCU, pointed out that while not every dancer experiences an eating disorder, the prevalence of such issues has prompted many dance departments to focus on promoting a healthy mentality.

The research goals of the clinic include developing a self-assessment checklist for ballet dancers to identify their risk factors and stay healthy while pursuing their passion. This tool could also be beneficial for other female athletes to prevent injuries and promote overall wellness. Dr. Lee emphasized the importance of supporting dancers in maintaining their health and establishing a culture of health and wellness in the dance community.

By Samantha Johnson

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