Excess abdominal fat has been linked to an increased risk of heart disease, diabetes and now osteoporosis, says the Harvard Medical School. Obesity was once thought to be protective against osteoporosis or weak bones, but advanced imaging technology is proving otherwise.
Researchers performed 106 comprehensive body scans on obese, but otherwise healthy men and women. They discovered some people who are overweight have excessive amounts of fat inside their bones as well.
Excess fatty tissue can occupy the healthy bone marrow space and inhibit new bone formation.
Diminished bone formation can make bones weak, brittle and prone to fractures.
Osteoporosis has historically been associated with small and frail-framed women. Medicine once touted obesity as a protective mechanism against osteoporosis.
In the past, medicine has relied on the body mass index (BMI) system to determine obesity and other health related risk factors.
BMI is a ratio of an individual’s height to weight. This system has been recently under scrutiny as it fails to distinguish muscle from body fat and most importantly where the fat is located in the body.
Technically, a weight lifter with a very low per cent body fat can be classified as obese using this system.
To address this problem, obesity and one’s overall health risk factors are now being quantified and measured by patterns of fat distribution instead of BMI.
Researchers have found that the greater amount of fat one has, especially around the midsection, the higher the risk of osteoporosis as well as other major diseases.
Excess belly fat also puts people at a greater risk of heart disease and cancer, according to a new study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology. Read more