New research has found a correlation between increased belly fat and bone loss which affects bone strength. A correlation does not necessarily mean causation (i.e., increased belly fat does not necessarily cause decreased bone strength). But the research has indicated that obese men with beer bellies may be at greater risk of fractures due to weak bones than non-obese men. It appears that visceral fat stored around the internal organs is more of a determinant of increased fractures than subcutaneous fat stored just under the skin.
This research contradicts the prevailing myth that being overweight causes stronger bones. Now it appears that there is an inverse relationship between body fat and bone density (i.e., increased body fat may cause decreased bone density). This finding may indicate that men with greater abdominal fat tend to be at greater risk of osteoporosis. The research has also found an association between greater muscle mass and increased bone strength.
BOTTOM LINE: Increased belly fat may put you at greater risk of osteoporosis as you age. Your bones will likely become stronger as you gain muscle and lose body fat. To reduce the risk of fractures, perform weight-bearing and strength training exercises (e.g., walking, climbing stairs, lifting free weights) regularly.
Brian Danley, CFT
"Motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going."
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I'm a personal trainer who loves to help others fulfill their health and fitness goals. I consider myself a bodybuilder in that I live the lifestyle of eating healthy food, working out regularly, and sculpting my body.