Overweight Children and Teens at Risk for Weak Bones

November 28, 2007 | Byron J. Richards, Board Certified Clinical Nutritionist

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 Overweight Children and Teens at Risk for Weak Bones
It has long been thought that extra body weight, while a risk for many health problems, was not a risk for bone health. A new study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition is now raising concerns of abnormal bone formation due to obesity.

This research was made possible by using new three dimensional bone scanning technology. Unlike the two dimensional bone scans used by many women in their 50s to help determine bone density, the new scanning technology can determine bone geometry and thus bone strength.

This new study was done on 18 and 19 year olds, teens old enough to have developed bones but not so old as to have bone decay from wear and tear. There was a clear relationship between the percentage of body fat and abnormal and weaker bone. The study authors believe that since bone cells and fat cells come from the same parent cell, too many fat cells interferes with normal bone growth and bone metabolism.

This study is of immense importance because bone that is malformed during growth cannot be corrected later – meaning that obesity causes weaker bones that will last a lifetime and make a person more at risk for bone fractures later in life.

The immense importance of managing leptin during childhood is now more important than ever. Nutrients that support healthy bones are an excellent idea for any child that is overweight.

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