A bulging waistline puts women at risk of osteoporosis


Tuesday 30th November, 2010

Excess fat around the belly may increase the risk of women developing the brittle bone disease osteoporosis, suggests new research presented at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America in Chicago.

Previous beliefs were that body fat could protect against the condition but a new study shows that a build up of fatty tissue around the waistline close to internal organs can lead to bone thinning in women.

Scientists from Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston studied 50 obese women who were pre-menopausal, measuring their levels of abdominal under-skin fat and deeper fat around the organs. Bone density and bone marrow fat were also assessed.

Those with higher levels of deeper belly fat had increased bone marrow fat and weaker bones. However, no significant correlation between under-skin fat and bone density was found.

“We know that obesity is a major public health problem,” said lead researcher Dr Miriam Bredella

“Now we know that abdominal obesity needs to be included as a risk factor for osteoporosis and bone loss. Our results showed that having a lot of belly fat is more detrimental to bone health than having more superficial fat or fat around the hips.

“It is important for the public to be aware that excess belly fat is a risk factor for bone loss, as well as heart disease and diabetes.”

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