Obesity Causes Bone And Muscle Loss In Men, Study

As men get fatter, their bones and muscles get weaker, an Australian study has found.

AsianScientist (Dec. 26, 2013) – As men get fatter, their bones and muscles get weaker, a new study has found.

A research team with Deakin University’s School of Medicine measured the body mass index (BMI), fat, muscle and bone density of 1,329 men aged 25-96 during the year 2001 to 2006 and of 900 men of similar ages five years later. They found that a 1.2 percent increase in BMI was driven by a 9 percent increase in body fat and that muscle mass had dropped by 0.9 percent and bone mass dropped by 1.6 percent.

“Obesity in men is clearly on the rise,” said Professor Julie Pasco, lead investigator of the study. “But an even more alarming finding is that while body fat has increased, muscles and bones have deteriorated. Obesity is bad enough as it increases the risk for diseases such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes. However we are now seeing that the musculoskeletal system (bones and muscle) could be affected too.”

While the changes in muscle and bone mass found in the study are relatively small compared to the increase in body fat, they foretell serious problems for the future as the population ages.

“During aging, bone loss leads to osteoporosis and muscle loss leads to a condition known as sarcopenia which makes people physically weak, less mobile and more dependent,” said Pasco. “When sarcopenia occurs in the face of obesity, fat infiltrates the muscles, which further weakens muscle strength and performance.”

The findings, published in the journal Obesity, are part of the Geelong Osteoporosis Study that has been monitoring the health status of Geelong residents for more than 20 years.

The article can be found at: Pasco J et al. (2013) Musculoskeletal deterioration in men accompanies increases in body fat.


Source: Deakin University; Photo: Magnus D/Flickr/CC.
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