Muscle Power Makes Bones Strong - Not Being Overweight or Obese

Maybe I’m an idiot. I can’t imagine being overweight or obese is good for anything—except winning belly-flop competitions—but apparently there is a school of thought out there that high body mass index helps build strong bones. Luckily, a new study shoots that pieces. Turns out muscles keep bones strong, not fat.

The researchers looked at bone density and volume, as well as lean and fat mass, in 768 men aged 25 to 45, including 296 pairs of brothers.

After the researchers adjusted for weight, they found that men's bone mass and volume fell steadily as their percentage of fat mass increased, while bone size rose in tandem with lean mass. Fat in the trunk area had a stronger influence on bone size than fat on the arms and legs.

"Lean mass," the researchers conclude, "is the major determinant of bone size, providing further evidence that bone size is adapted to the dynamic load imposed by muscle force rather than passive loading" by fat.

Dr. Fuhrman agrees with the muscle-bone link, saying, “Strong muscles and bones are married together. Working out and strengthening the muscles, thickens the bones in the process.” And in his DVD Osteoporosis Protection for Life you’ll learn how certain exercises tone muscles and build bone density.

Flickr: jeremyh21

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Comments (2) Read through and enter the discussion with the form at the end
kathy j - September 21, 2009 3:34 PM

I take issue with this study for one reason and one reason only: it was conducted only on men. I'm not necessarily disputing it's relevance to women, but I do believe that men and women are different enough to warrant separate studies.

Steve - September 22, 2009 10:15 AM

Hi Gerry

Glad to see you back with these types of posts.

I guess in general being fat would not correlate well with being fit.

However at the gym I go to, there are many people there who are immensely strong but who also have pot bellies. I wonder which would win out in these cases.

Conversely, my dear ole Dad (who will turn 90 in February) weighs all of 110 pounds, with nary an ounce of flab, but also obviously little muscle. I am hoping leanness trumps lack of strength here.

Regards, Steve

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