Obese women or women who are overweight, especially those with high waist circumference (WC), are at a higher risk of broken bones and fractures than those with normal weight, as per a recent research. However, it is the opposite in case of men as those who are underweight, not overweight, are susceptible to a greater risk of broken bones.
For the study, Dr Anne-Frederique Turcotte, Endocrinology and Nephrology Unit, CHU de Quebec Research Center, Quebec City, Canada, along with his colleagues, analyzed data from CARTaGENE, which is a prospective population-based cohort of 20,000 people aged between 40-70 years from Quebec city in Canada.
In women with greater WC, there was a linear association with an increased risk of fracture. For each 5cm (two inch) increase in WC, there was 3 percent higher risk of fracture at any site and the risk of a distal lower limb fracture was 7 percent higher. In fact, there was a direct association between WC and ankle fractures.
Similarly, the risk rose up with 5 percent in women with a BMI of 27.5 and to 40 percent in those with a BMI of 40. On the contrary, females with a BMI of 22.5 had a 5 percent lower risk of distal lower limb fractures.
“Waist circumference was more strongly associated with fractures in women than BMI. This may be due to visceral fat – fat that is very metabolically active and stored deep within the abdomen, wrapped around the organs – secreting compounds that adversely affect bone strength,” Dr Turcotte said.
Of course, be it men or women, there are varied factors that can affect bone health, from age, menopausal status, income, area of residence to smoking status, alcohol consumption, physical activity level, supplemental calcium and vitamin D intake. Any history of fracture and comorbidities and medications can also influence fracture risk.
So, apart from fighting obesity and reaching an optimum BMI, women can adopt some natural ways to build healthy bones.
Vegetables are great for your overall health and especially the bones. One of the best sources of vitamin C, they can stimulate production of bone-forming cells and their antioxidant effects may protect bone cells from damage. Eating vegetables in a daily routine can also aid in increasing mineral density, also known as bone density.
To build and maintain strong bones, one needs to engage in specific types of exercise like weight-bearing or high-impact in order to promote the formation of new bones. In fact, strength-training exercise is not only beneficial in increasing muscle mass but also helps protect against bone loss.
Also, read: 5 bone building nutrients apart from calcium
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Getting enough protein is vital for maintaining healthy bones as about 50% of bone is made of protein. Eat enough protein in your diet as low protein intake decreases calcium absorption and can lead to bone breakdown.
Vitamin D and vitamin K are the building blocks of strong bones. While vitamin D helps your body absorb calcium, vitamin K2 helps in bettering bone health by modifying osteocalcin, a protein involved in bone formation.
While there is no confirmation, early evidence suggests that collagen supplements might help protect bone health. It is the main protein found in bones and contains amino acids glycine, proline and lysine, which builds bone, muscle, ligaments and other tissues.
With nutrition and lifestyle habits, women certainly can increase their bone health and avoid broken bones. Well, it’s never too early to start.