Source: Health Day (Summary by NIM)
It has long been known that in women, having too low of a body fat percentage can affect bone density, increasing the risk of future osteoporosis. Now, a new study has discovered that in young girls, fat mass in a key factor in the formation of bone.
The researchers in the study measured the cortical bone mass (the hard outer layer of bone) of 4,005 girls and boys with an average age of 15.5 years. What they found was that the more fat mass girls had, the greater their bone density was. The effect in girls was 70% greater than that in boys - for boys, muscle mass appears to have a greater influence on bone density.
According to study lead author Jonathan Tobias, of the University of Bristol in England, "Fat mass in girls during puberty may have a long-term impact on bone health as they grow into adulthood. Excessive reduction in fat mass could have adverse effects on the developing skeleton particularly in girls, leading to an increased risk of osteoporosis later in life,"
Find out more about this study in the article called "Fat May Help Build Bone Mass in Girls" from Health Day (Jan. 5, 2010).