Another danger of Obesity: Being overweight could spike risk of hip fractures in postmenopausal women

Another danger of Obesity: Being overweight could spike risk of hip fractures in postmenopausal women&nbsp | &nbspPhoto Credit:&nbspiStock Images

Key Highlights

  • Osteoporosis is a bone weakening condition that is common among older women
  • Obesity is linked with an increased risk of diseases and conditions
  • Recent studies suggest that women who are obese may be at higher risk of hip fractures post menopause, than those who have a normal weight

New Delhi: Being obese or overweight comes with its own set of challenges. Researchers have found that obesity can spike risk of various diseases and conditions such as high blood pressure, development of type 2 diabetes, and even some cancers. Obesity is also closely linked with the risk of COVID-19, the disease that has caused the current pandemic. 

A recent study has now found that obesity can also spike the risk of hip fractures in postmenopausal women. After menopause, women are likely to experience osteoporosis, which is a bone-weakening condition, due to the absence of certain hormones in the body. However, obesity may only add to the already high risk.

Obese women are more likely to suffer a hip fracture before age 70 than those who aren’t obese

According to a recent study, researchers gathered data from more than 12,700 women in Finland, who were born between 1932 and 1941. The research work followed them for 25 years. 

Researchers from the University of Eastern Finland found a link between women’s Body Mass Index, at age 58 and their risk of hip fracture before the age of 70. They also studied the connection between BMI at age 70 and the risk of hip fracture up to age 80.

They found that the risk of hip fracture increase with age among normal-weight, overweight, and obese women. However, the risk before age 70 increased faster in obese women. 

“Based on this study, the risk of early hip fracture occurring before the age of 70 is clearly highest in obese women — and especially in obese women who have a below-average bone density. Later, after around 75 years of age, the risk increases fastest in slender women. Ageing women at the borderline between normal weight and overweight seem to have the lowest risk,” senior researcher Toni Rikkonen said in a university news release.

Researchers found that in obese women, there was a 1 per cent risk of hip fracture just before age 67, while overweight women reached that level of risk just before age 72.

Compared to overweight women, obese women had a 2 per cent risk of hip fracture 2.1 years earlier than overweight women, and a 4 per cent risk 1.3 years earlier. The differences between the groups reduced with age.

In obese women, the rate of hip fracture-related death within five years after the fracture was about 1.5 times higher than in other women.

After age 75, the risk reduced in women who were at the lower end of normal weight. Women at the borderline between normal weight and overweight had the least risk until old age, the study said. 

The findings were published recently in the journal Osteoporosis International.

Osteoporosis continues to be a major health problem in older women, especially after menopause. Regular exercise, healthy diet, and maintaining a healthy weight can help reduce the risk of fractures.

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