Researchers have found evidence that weight loss can result in worsening bone density, bone architecture and bone strength.
Douglas P. Kiel, MD, MPH, principal investigator for the study said,
“The study is significant because it used data on weight changes over 40 years in participants in the Framingham Study.
We showed that men and women with both shorter term weight loss over 4-6 years and longer term weight loss over 40 years had more micro-architectural deterioration of their bones than persons who did not lose weight.”
The magnitude of changes to the skeleton were clinically significant and translated into an almost three-fold increase in the risk of fracture for those who lost 5% or more weight over 40 years.
Elizabeth (Lisa) Samelson, PhD, senior author of the paper cautioned that “Older adults who are losing weight should be aware of the potential negative effects on the skeleton and may want to consider counteracting these effects through interventions such as weight-bearing exercise and eating a balanced diet.
Given that weight loss is highly common in older adults, further work is needed to evaluate if these bone deficits can be prevented through interventions or therapy.”