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Deep Belly Fat Could Weaken Men’s Bones

Malaysia has been rated as the highest among Asian countries for obesity, reports The Star. Science Advisor to the Prime Minister, Tan Sri Zakri Abdul Hamid, said new findings from British medical journal, The Lancet, in 2014 showed that 49% of women and 44% of men in Malaysia were found to be obese.

 A study shows, obese men with a lot of deep stomach fat have greater risk to bone-thinning compared to other men.

Obesity can cause bone thinning in men

Although bone loss, or osteoporosis, is widely believed to be a health issue affecting women, researchers found that “visceral fat,” which is located under the muscles in the abdomen, is linked to bone loss and decreased bone strength in men,  reports Everyday Health.

Dr. Miriam Bredella, a radiologist at Massachusetts General Hospital and an associate professor of radiology at Harvard Medical School in Boston explains “It is important for men to be aware that excess tummy fat is not only a risk factor for heart disease and diabetes,  but it is also a risk factor for bone loss.

Research shows that men with more visceral  fat has weaker bones

In a study, researchers examined 35 men with an average age of 34 years and an average body-mass index (BMI, a measure of height and weight) of 36.5, which is considered obese. The men had a CT scan of their abdomen and thigh to measure their fat and muscle mass. They also underwent a high-resolution CT scan, known as finite element analysis (FEA), of their forearm to determine their bone strength and risk for fractures.

“FEA is a technique that is used in mechanical engineering to determine the strength of materials for the design of bridges or airplanes and other things,” explained Bredella. “FEA can determine whether a structure will bend or break and the amount of force necessary to make the material break. We can now use FEA to determine the strength or force necessary to make a bone break.”

The study revealed that the men with more visceral and total fat in their abdomen had less bone strength than those who have less abdominal fat. The researchers noted that the men’s age and total BMI did not have an impact on their bone strength.   

The researchers pointed out that genetics, diet and exercise all play a role in the amount of visceral fat stored in the body. This type of deep belly fat is also linked to an increased risk for heart disease.

Steps can be taken to prevent obesity

To reduce the risk of  bone thinning in men due to obesity,  one can  take strategies to prevent excessive weight gain.  This can  be done by  being mindful of food consumed (such as calorie count and amount of sugar content) and by regularly practicing suitable forms of exercises to burn off accumulated fat as mentioned by CDC.

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