Men with high levels of body fat have lower bone density and may be more likely to break a bone than those with normal levels of body fat, according to a new study.
Health care providers often assume people with higher body weight have high bone density and are at low risk of fracture, and these patients are less likely to be screened for osteoporosis.
The researchers analyzed the bone mineral density and body composition data of 10,814 people under 60 years old from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) 2011-2018. They found a strong positive association between lean mass and bone mineral density in both men and women. Conversely, fat mass had a moderately negative association with bone mineral density, especially in men.
“Health care providers should consider osteoporosis screening for patients with high body weight, especially if they have other risk factors like older age, previous fracture, family history, or steroid use,” Jain said.
The results of the study emphasize the importance of bone health in obesity and may explain site-specific increases in fracture rates in some studies of obese subjects.
Rajesh K Jain, Tamara Vokes. Fat Mass Has Negative Effects on Bone, Especially in Men: A Cross-Sectional Analysis of NHANES 2011-2018. The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, 2022; DOI: 10.1210/clinem/dgac040
The Endocrine Society. “Men with high levels of body fat may be at risk for osteoporosis.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 10 February 2022. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2022/02/220210114053.htm>.
Photo by Karsten Winegeart