Influence of weight and weight change on bone loss in perimenopausal and early postmenopausal Scottish women

Macdonald, Helen M.; New, Susan A.; Campbell, Marion K.; Reid, David M.
February 2005
Osteoporosis International;Feb2005, Vol. 16 Issue 2, p163
Academic Journal
Weight is recognized as an important factor in determining an individual’s risk of osteoporosis. However, little is known about whether weight or weight change influences bone loss around the time of the menopause, and the relationship with energy intake and physical activity level remains largely undefined. Healthy premenopausal women (1,064 selected from a random population of 5,119 women aged 45-54 years at baseline) each had bone mineral density (BMD), weight and height measurements, and completed a food frequency and physical activity questionnaire. Of the original participants, 907 women (85.2%) returned 6.3 ± 0.6 years later for repeat BMD measurements, and 896 women completed the questionnaires. Bone loss at the hip (FN) and spine (LS) occurred before the menopause. Weight change rather than weight was associated with FN BMD loss (r=0.102,p=0.002), but weight at follow-up was associated with LS BMD change (r=0.105,p=0.002). Although an increase in physical activity level (PAL) appeared to be beneficial for FN BMD in women who were heavy weight gainers, PAL was associated with increased LS BMD loss in women who lost weight. For current HRT users, neither weight nor weight change was associated with change in BMD. Postmenopausal women not taking HRT should be made aware that low body weight or losing weight during this particularly vulnerable period may worsen bone loss.


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