Obesity may disturb bone growth during teen years

Dec. 18, 2013, Reuters

By Shereen Jegtvig

Obese teens might not develop sufficient bone mass relative to their body weight, according to a new study from Brazil.

Both body fat and lean body mass have an impact on bone growth, but it’s not clear if the bones of the heaviest teens are strong enough for their weight and that could have long- and short-term consequences.

Bone mineral acquisition “rises exponentially in both genders” during the growth spurt following puberty, the researchers write in the journal Nutrition.

Previous studies examining whether obesity interferes with bone development have shown conflicting results — some indicate bone density is fine when compared just to the adolescent’s lean mass (muscle).

But others have suggested bone density doesn’t increase enough during this important period to support the heavier weight of obese teens, potentially putting them at increased risk for bone fractures. Continue reading