Researchers in Britain have carried out the study and found that bone strength is linked to fat levels - meaning the pressure to be thin may increase the chances of fractures, the Daily Mail reported.
According to them, building strong bones in youth is particularly important for women as they are three times more likely to develop bone thinning, or osteoporosis, and can suffer up to three times more hip fractures than men, later in their life. “There is a good deal of pressure on teenage girls to be thin, but they need to be aware that this could endanger their developing skeleton and put them at an increased risk of osteoporosis.
“Many people think that exercise is the key to losing weight and building strong bones at the same time — but this may only be true up to a point. If you do a good deal of low impact exercise, such as walking, you will certainly lose fat but you may not be able to put enough stress on the bones to build them significantly.
“To offset the detrimental effect of fat loss on your bones, it may be important to include high impact exercise as well, such as running or jumping,” lead researcher Professor Jon Tobias of Bristol University said.
The findings came from a research, ‘Children Of The 90s’, which enrolled nearly 4,000 mothers during pregnancy between 1991 and 1992. The researchers then looked at more than 4,000 young people aged 15, scanning their bones to calculate their shape and density, as well as how much body fat they had. Those with higher levels of fat, tended to have thicker bones, with the connection being “particularly marked” in girls.
An increase in fat mass of five kilograms in girls was associated with an eight per cent increase in the thickness of the lower leg bone. As girls tend to have higher levels of fat than boys, even when they are normal weight, the study said that fat plays an important role in female bone development.
Fat mass is more important to bone development in girls than boys. Bone mass continues to increase slowly into the mid-20s but after the age of 35, bone loss increases as part of the natural ageing process, the researchers said.