Weight reduction is associated with bone loss in older men that may increase the risk of a broken bone, new research shows. Moreover, this finding held true even among overweight and obese men who were voluntarily losing weight.
“Our findings indicate that healthcare providers should take into account weight loss when evaluating older men for risk factors for (the bone-thinning disease) osteoporosis and related fractures,” Dr. Kristine E. Ensrud, from the VA Medical Center in Minneapolis, and colleagues note.Still, the findings aren’t meant to discourage older people from losing excess weight, as this can provide important health benefits. However, further studies are needed to “evaluate the effectiveness of interventions to prevent bone loss due to weight loss,” the authors note.The findings, which appear in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, are based on an analysis of data from the Osteoporotic Fractures in Men study. A total of 1342 men, at least 65 years of age, were followed for nearly 2 years to assess changes in weight and bone mineral density, a measure of bone strength.Men with weight gain experienced a slight annual increase in bone density at the hip, whereas men who lost weight had a drop in bone density. Men with a stable weight also experienced a reduction in bone density, but not as marked as that seen in men who lost weight.Weight loss was a predictor of bone loss, regardless of initial starting weight, body composition, and intention to lose weight. In particular, obese men with voluntary weight reduction had increased rates of bone loss compared with their peers who gained weight or maintained their weight.”These results indicate that sustained modest weight loss in older men is a strong clinical risk factor for hip bone loss,” the authors conclude.(Source: Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism: Reuters Health: April 2005.)