Can Weight Loss = Bone Loss?

May 16, 2012

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weight lossFor many women, bone loss can become a major complication as they age, with osteoporosis leading to fragile, easily broken bones later in life.

Does weight loss play a role in losing bone mass? Yes, and no.

In general weight loss associated with bone loss usually occurs along with some form of serious illness that is causing the weight loss.

On the other hand, people on a balanced weight loss program who are getting adequate nutrition despite cutting calories are at a low risk of experiencing bone loss.

Resistance and strength building exercise such as weight lifting, water based workouts, and the use of resistance bands can all help prevent bone loss. In addition, the added tension actually spurs more bone cells to grow to keep up, making bones stronger.

Exercise helps in another way too. Loss of muscle instead of fat is a common result of unbalanced fad diets or trying to lose weight by cutting calories without including regular exercise. So working out helps to build bone and preserve muscle while losing excess fat stores – exactly what you want to achieve.

If you have a family history of osteoporosis or have osteoporosis yourself, working with a physician specifically trained in weight loss will provide added protection.

Further, because bone loss can accelerate during menopause, just when many women also begin to find losing weight and keeping it off harder than ever, a complete physical checkup can help make sure nothing is being overlooked in your total health and weight management picture.

Losing weight isn’t easy. Losing weight without negative consequences for your health is equally tricky. Remember – it’s not just about the number on the scale. It’s about making sure you are as healthy as you can possibly be, which includes eating well, being active, and reaching and maintaining an optimal body weight.

Dr. Michael Kaplan

Founder and Chief Medical Officer

The Center for Medical Weight Loss

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