Researchers weigh in: Thin women more likely to experience rapid bone loss in menopause transition
I have shared with you my experiences how thin and worried women often have lower bone mass and tend to lose more bone during the menopausal transition.
But there is still much we can learn about this connection. In fact, I have become so interested in this phenomenon that I recently began my own “Thin Women and Bone Loss” research project.
And researchers around the world are interested in this topic too.
Recently, one Chinese study focusing on bone loss during premenopause, perimenopause, and post-menopause had the novel aspect of looking at how weight and body mass index predicted the likelihood of rapid bone loss during the menopausal transition. In the study, women weighing less than 110 lbs. had 5.5 times the risk of rapid bone loss than women who weighed more than 110 lbs. Among all risk factors,only body weight and body mass index were significantly different between those with rapid bone loss and those with normal bone loss. Thin Chinese women clearly lost more bone during the menopause transition.
These findings were part of a 2010 study following 161 Chinese women, ages 45-55, for five years. During that time, most moved from premenopause into perimenopause and post-menopause. Researchers also found that among these women the most rapid rate of bone loss occurred during the perimenopausal stage of the menopausal transition. This tendency towards rapid bone loss during perimenopause has also been documented among Caucasians by endocrinologist Dr. Jerilynn Prior and others.
Here at the Center for Better Bones we have found both aspects of the study to be true for Caucasians, but our standard for “thin” is more like being less than 120 lbs. We have found thin women who worry excessively seem to undergo more bone loss than those who do not have such a strong tendency to worry.
With the body of research growing about the connection between weight and bones, I want to encourage women — from premenopause and beyond — to remember they can make a measurable difference in their bone health with a comprehensive approach that includes the proper diet, exercise, and supplements.
I look forward to updating you on my research project!
Cora, H et al. 2010. Body weight but not serum C-telopeptide predicts rate of bone loss during the menopausal transition. ASBMR poster presentation M00339, Toronto.
I’m Dr. Susan E Brown. I am a clinical nutritionist, medical anthropologist, writer and motivational speaker. Learn my time-tested 6 step natural approach to bone health in my online courses.
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