According to a new study, weight gain or loss in older women could increase the risk of broken bones. These findings contradict the widely held belief that weight gain protects older women against fractures. Over 120,000 healthy postmenopausal women were included in the U.S. study. The women aged 50 to 79, were studied over the course of 11 years.
According to researchers, a weight loss of 5 percent or more resulted in a 65 percent higher risk of hip fracture. The study also found that women who lost 5 percent of their weight saw an increased risk of upper limb fracture, and a 30 percent higher risk of central body fracture (spine, hip and pelvis).
On the other hand, a weight gain of 5 percent or more was linked to a 10 percent increased risk of upper limb fracture and an 18 percent higher risk of lower limb fracture according to the study.
The goal of the study was not to prove that weight gain or loss was responsible for fractures, just that there is an association between the factors.
Researchers also found that unintentional weight loss was associated to a higher risk of hip and spine fractures. Intentional weight loss was associated with an increased risk of lower limb fractures, but a lower risk of hip fractures.
The study, published in the journal BMJ on Jan 27th, was lead by Carolyn Crandall, a professor of the University of California, Los Angeles David Geffen School of Medicine, and colleagues.
It is the first of its kind, the first to study weight changes affect on older women’s fracture risk in different parts of the body. It provides vital information to healthcare practitioners, according to researchers.
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BMJ, news release, Jan. 27, 2015
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