A recent study presented at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA) found that having too much internal abdominal fat may have a damaging effect on bone health.* This runs counter to the long-held belief that obese women were at lower risk for developing osteoporosis, stemming from the idea that excess body fat had a protective effect against bone loss.
Miriam A. Bredella, MD, a radiologist at Massachusetts General Hospital and assistant professor of radiology at Harvard Medical School, led a team of colleagues who set out to evaluate the abdominal, subcutaneous, visceral, and total fat, as well as bone marrow fat and bone mineral density, in 50 premenopausal women with a mean Body Mass Index of 30.
Their study revealed that women with more visceral fat had increased bone marrow fat and decreased bone mineral density.
“Our results showed that having a lot of belly fat is more detrimental to bone health than having more superficial fat or fat around the hips,” Dr. Bredella said. “It is important for the public to be aware that excess belly fat is a risk factor for bone loss, as well as heart disease and diabetes.”