Obesity Linked to Bad Bones
December 27, 2007
Excess body fat may contribute to poor bone health, according to a new study of 115 18- and 19-year-old women. The finding adds to the growing list of obesity-related health problems, which already includes an increased risk of heart disease, stroke, cancer, and others.
In the study, researchers conducted three-dimensional bone scans of women with normal body fat (less than 32 percent) and high body fat (greater than 32 percent). Women with high body fat had bones that were 8 percent to 9 percent weaker than those with normal body fat.
While it’s not known exactly why excess fat is bad for bone health, animal studies have found that obese rats produce more fat cells than bone cells in bone marrow, which may explain the weakening.
The finding could be particularly damaging for obese children, whose bones are still developing. Childhood obesity, researchers said, could have a lasting negative impact on the skeleton.
More than 64 percent of U.S. adults, and 16 percent of children, are obese.