Obesity, diabetes literally ‘bad to the bone’

Washington: A team of researchers has identified that bone in a “big boned” diabetic is weaker.

Obesity and Type 2 diabetes have been linked to several health issues, including an increased risk of bone fractures. In the new rat study, University of Missouri researchers examined how the development of obesity and insulin resistance contribute to bone-fracture risk and whether exercise prevents weight gain and diabetes and protects bone health.

They found obesity and Type 2 diabetes negatively affected bone, but exercise prevented weight gain and diabetes and increased bone strength. These findings could inform interventions to improve bone health among individuals with obesity and Type 2 diabetes.

Researchers once thought obesity was protective of bone because with more body mass, individuals have more bone mass; more bone mass typically decreases risk of osteoporosis and associated fractures, said researcher Pam Hinton, adding that they have come to realize that the people with obesity and Type 2 diabetes have an increased risk of fractures.

This study doesn’t explain how exercise increased bone quality, Hinton said. The animals in the exercise group were healthier; they didn’t develop the same insulin resistance and diabetes, which might explain why the bones of the exercising rats were healthier, Hinton said.

The study appears in the journal Metabolism.