Not all body fat is the same. Subcutaneous fat lies just below the skin, and visceral or intra-abdominal fat is located deep under the muscle tissue in the abdominal cavity. Genetics, diet and exercise are all contributors to the level of visceral fat that is stored in the body. Excess visceral fat is considered particularly dangerous, because in previous studies it has been associated with many health problems including cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, high cholesterol, asthma, sleep apnea and joint diseases.
Dr. Miriam Bredella, a radiologist at Massachusetts General Hospital and associate professor of radiology at Harvard Medical School in Boston had in 2010 shown that young premenopausal women with excessive amounts of visceral fat2are at increased risk for osteoporosis. Source: Zestzfulness, December 14, 2010
A new study by Dr Bredella and colleagues finds that that "visceral fat," which is located deep under the muscles in the abdomen, is also linked to bone loss and decreased bone strength in men.
Level of 'visceral fat' seemed to have an effect regardless of man's overall weight.
"Most studies on osteoporosis have focused on women. Men were thought to be relatively protected against bone loss, especially obese men," Dr. Bredella.
"It is important for men to be aware that excess belly fat is not only a risk factor for heart disease and diabetes, it is also a risk factor for bone loss," Bredella added.
The study revealed that the men with more visceral and total fat in their abdomen had less bone strength than those with less abdominal fat. The researchers noted that the men's age and total BMI did not have an impact on their bone strength.
"We were not surprised by our results that abdominal and visceral fat are detrimental to bone strength in obese men," noted Bredella. "We were, however, surprised that obese men with a lot of visceral fat had significantly decreased bone strength compared to obese men with low visceral fat but similar BMI."The results also showed that muscle mass was positively associated with 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.
The above story is based on the November 2, 2012 news release by the Radiological Society of North America.
The research is published online August 29, 2012 in The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism:
Bredella MA, Lin E, Gerweck AV, Landa MG, Thomas BJ, Torriani M, Bouxsein ML, Miller KK. Determinants of bone microarchitecture and mechanical properties in obese men. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2012 Nov;97(11):4115-22. doi: 10.1210/jc.2012-2246.
The U.S. National Library of Medicine has more about osteoporosis.