Obese women at higher risk of broken bones in women, finds new research
By NCVC Staff | Published on Oct 10, 2023
Obesity is a pressing concern worldwide, and its detrimental effects extend beyond cardiovascular health. Recent research has shed light on the heightened risk of broken bones and fractures in obese women, particularly those with high waist circumference (WC). Surprisingly, the opposite holds true for men, where underweight individuals face a greater susceptibility to fractures.
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Dr. Anne-Frederique Turcotte and her colleagues from CHU de Quebec Research Center in Quebec City, Canada, conducted a study analyzing data from CARTaGENE. This prospective population-based cohort encompassed 20,000 individuals aged between 40-70 years from Quebec City.
Waist Circumference and BMI: Key Indicators of Obesity
In women with a larger WC, there was a linear association with an increased risk of fractures. With every 5cm increase in WC, the risk of fracture at any site surged by 3%, while the risk of distal lower limb fractures escalated by 7%. Notably, WC exhibited a direct correlation with ankle fractures.
Similarly, the risk of fractures rose by 5% in women with a BMI of 27.5 and reached a staggering 40% in those with a BMI of 40. Conversely, females with a BMI of 22.5 demonstrated a 5% lower risk of distal lower limb fractures.
Dr. Turcotte remarked, “Waist circumference was more strongly associated with fractures in women than BMI. This may be due to visceral fat – fat that is very metabolically active and stored deep within the abdomen, wrapped around the organs – secreting compounds that adversely affect bone strength.”
While obesity undoubtedly influences fracture risk, there exists a multitude of factors that can impact bone health, spanning from age, menopausal status, income, area of residence, smoking status, alcohol consumption, physical activity level, supplemental calcium and vitamin D intake to prior fracture history, comorbidities, and medications.
Therefore, in addition to combatting obesity and attaining an optimum BMI, women can adopt natural approaches to fortify their bones.
How to Cultivate Healthy Bones
1. Eat an Abundance of Vegetables
Vegetables are not only beneficial for overall health but also specifically for bone health. Rich in vitamin C, they stimulate the production of bone-forming cells while their antioxidant properties shield bone cells from damage. Incorporating vegetables into your daily routine can also enhance mineral density, a critical aspect of bone health.
2. Incorporate Regular Strength Training Exercises
Engaging in specific types of exercise, such as weight-bearing or high-impact activities, is crucial for building and maintaining robust bones. Strength training exercises not only boost muscle mass but also safeguard against bone loss.
3. Ensure Sufficient Protein Intake
Adequate protein consumption is vital for maintaining healthy bones, considering that approximately 50% of bone comprises protein. Low protein intake impairs calcium absorption and contributes to bone breakdown.
4. Embrace Ample Vitamin D and Vitamin K
Vitamin D and vitamin K serve as the building blocks of sturdy bones. While vitamin D facilitates calcium absorption, vitamin K2 enhances bone health by modifying osteocalcin, a protein integral to bone formation.
5. Consider Collagen Supplements
Although further research is necessary, preliminary evidence suggests that collagen supplements might fortify bone health. Collagen, the primary protein found in bones, contains amino acids glycine, proline, and lysine, which are instrumental in building bone, muscle, ligaments, and other tissues.
By adopting favorable nutrition and lifestyle habits, women can significantly bolster their bone health and minimize the risk of fractures. Remember, it’s never too early to prioritize your well-being.