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Bone Health Is Compromised In Obesity: Research

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We often come across medical literature talking about how those who are overweight or obese have increased risk of developing coronary heart diseases and diabetes. Research conducted by scientists at Sweden’s Sahlgrenska Academy has indicated that bone health is yet another aspect one may want to be concerned about if they have a high percentage of body fat.

As per their study, a hormone which is directly related to body’s obesity known as adiponectin is also responsible for increased risk and incidences of fractures and osteoporosis. (1)

Adiponectin like most hormones is made of protein and is secreted by fat cells of the body called adipocytes. Adiponectin is primarily responsible for regulating a number of metabolic processes in the human body such as regulating glucose and fatty acid burning as well as controlling insulin sensitivity and effecting weight loss. (2)

The more the adiponectin secreted into the blood plasma by the fat cells of the body, the less body fat percentage in adults.

We know that bones increase in thickness in such areas which are subject to repeated intervals of weight bearing. The makeup, anatomy/structure of the human bone is such that its very calcium and phosphate also give the bone its ability to withstand compression and bending forces. (3)

However, increase in body weight puts a sustained and continuous pressure on the entire network of bones, thus weakening it over a period of time.

The study conducted at Sahlgrenska Academy was an international research project. Some 11,000 elderly men across Sweden, the United States and Hong Kong, on whom risk factors connected to osteoporosis were assessed. Lead researcher Dan Mellstrom who examined the obesity hormone adiponectin’s relationship with developing osteoporosis said, “High levels of adiponectin in the elderly seem to be associated with both reduced functioning of the musculature and a more fragile skeleton. This means a higher risk of fractures and falls, and also increased mortality.” (4)

One other important factor was revealed in the research project: persons with raised levels of adiponectin in their blood plasma were also more prone to fractures due to a fragile skeletal structure. This was also coupled with faster functional ageing of the bones in such persons.

It was further found that lower muscle mass and reduced muscular strength was a common thread that ran among all those who had higher levels of adiponectin in their blood plasma.


1. Obesity Hormone Adiponectin Increases the Risk of Osteoporosis in the Elderly, Study Finds; Science Daily; November, 2011; http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/11/111101171036.htm

2. Definition of Adiponectin; MedicineNet.com; November, 2011; http://www.medterms.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=17982

3. Osteoporosis; NetDoctor; November, 2011; http://www.netdoctor.co.uk/diseases/facts/osteoporosis.htm

4. Obesity Hormone Adiponectin Increases The Risk Of Osteoporosis In The Elderly; University Of Gothenburg - The Sahlgrenska Academy - News; November, 2011; http://www.sahlgrenska.gu.se/english/news_and_events/news/News_Detail/obesity-hormone-adiponectin-increases-the-risk-of-osteoporosis-in-the-elderly.cid1044806


Mamta Singh is a published author of the books Migraines for the Informed Woman – Tips From A Sufferer: ISBN: 978-81-291-1517-1 (Publisher: Rupa & Co. URL: http://www.amazon.com/Migraines-Informed-Woman-Tips-Sufferer/dp/8129115174/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1298990756&sr=1-2), Mentor Your Mind – Tested Mantras For The Busy Woman: ISBN: 978-81-207-5973-2 (Publisher: Sterling Publishers; URL: http://www.amazon.com/Mentor-Your-Mind-Tested-Mantras/dp/8120759737/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1316063179&sr=8-1) and the upcoming Women’s Complete Fitness Guide (Publisher: Hay House India).

She is also a seasoned business, creative and academic writer. She is a certified fitness instructor, personal trainer & sports nutritionist through IFA, Florida USA. Mamta is an NCFE-certified Holistic Health Therapist SAC Dip U.K. She is the lead writer and holds Expert Author status in many well-received health, fitness and nutrition sites. She runs her own popular blogs on migraines in women and holistic health.

Mamta holds a double Master's Degree in Commerce and Business. She is a registered practitioner with the UN recognised Art of Living Foundation. Please visit www.mamtasingh.com

Reviewed February 21, 2012
by Michele Blacksberg RN
Edited by Jody Smith

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.



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