Eleven female patients (aged 18-46 y) with anorexia nervosa were measured by use of dual-photon absorptiometry for 1) bone mineral content (BMC, in g) and bone mineral density (BMD, in g/cm2) of the total skeleton and its regions, 2) BMD of the lumbar spine and the proximal femur, and 3) total body soft-tissue composition. The patients weighed 44.4 kg, approximately 15 kg less than normal peers (n = 22). The fat mass (3.35 kg) and content of soft tissue (7.8%) were four and three times lower (p less than 0.001) respectively, than those in normal women (15.1 kg and 26%, respectively). The total skeleton mineral (1921 g) was approximately 25% less than that of young normal women. The BMC as a fraction of the lean tissue mass was approximately 4.9% in the patients and 5.9% in normal women. Total body and femoral BMD averaged only 10% and 13% lower than those of normal women, respectively; however, spinal BMD was particularly reduced (approximately 25%, p less than 0.001).