Starving artists

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Dr. Anne Hoch of the Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee reported on a study of ballerinas that indicated they are especially vulnerable to the female athlete tetrad, a medical syndrome involving combinations of premature heart disease, osteoporosis, disordered eating, and menstrual dysfunction.

ACSH headquarters is a mere two blocks north of New York s Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, so ballerina sightings are common, and staffers have noticed other trends as well. Every ballerina that I see is smoking, says ACSH s Dr. Elizabeth Whelan. The practice is common among the dancers.

The article should have mentioned the high smoking rates among ballerinas, says ACSH's Dr. Gilbert Ross. It s a problematic fashion in that artistic sphere.

There s no question that smoking compounds the health problems endemic to the profession. Smoking only adds to the other health issues they face, and that should be pointed out in studies like this if anyone is interested in a comprehensive solution to the problem, says ACSH's Jeff Stier. For further reference: ACSH s publication on the many unknown and unspoken dangers of smoking.