The one "plus" to obesity besides clothing size was supposed to be a lower risk of osteoporosis.
Bigger bodies means bigger bones, which should be harder to break.
That was the theory, anyway.
Well, it's time to throw that theory right out the window. A new study found that bigger bones aren't stronger bones. In fact, they're actually weaker, and they could even increase your risk of osteoporosis.
Researchers recruited 50 women who ranged in BMI from a willowy 19 to a morbidly obese 46--but with a mean BMI of 30, most of them were much heavier than they should be.
Some of them had too much fat under the skin, which is known as subcutaneous fat... while others had the belly fat that starts out in the abdomen and pads the major organs--visceral fat, or the so-called "apple" shape.
Then, the researchers used MRI images to examine bone marrow fat and CT scans to measure bone mineral density in the fourth vertebra in the lumbar section of the spine--a bone that's considered to be a reliable indicator of how the rest of your bones are doing.
They found that the types of fat in the body make a big difference in the kinds of bones you have--and the risks you face. Overall, women with the most belly fat--the "apples"--had the highest levels of bone marrow fat and the lowest overall bone mineral density.
And that puts these women at serious risk for osteoporosis, according to research presented at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America.
None of the women in the study actually had the disease, but some already had osteopenia, or a loss of bone mineral that often leads to osteoporosis.
Women with higher levels of subcutaneous fat, on the other hand, had relatively normal bones--but don't consider that to be any comfort if you're overweight. Obesity of any kind, no matter where those fat deposits reside, will put you at risk for diabetes, heart disease, and a premature demise.
Do yourself and your bones a favor and lose the extra weight-- and then spend a little more time in the sun, because your body needs vitamin D to help keep those bones strong.
Then, follow one of the best pieces of advice I've ever seen for bone health: Drink more beer, especially India pal ales. Studies have found that they're the best sources of dietary silicon needed for strong bones. (Click here to read more.)
They're also a key source of evening happiness.