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Weight loss through calorie restriction, but not exercise, may lead to bone loss

Men and women who lose weight by cutting calories also may be losing bone density, but weight loss through exercise does not seem to produce the same effect, according to a report in the December 11/25 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Most U.S. adults are either overweight or obese, according to background information in the article. The primary treatment for these conditions is lifestyle modification, including exercise and low-calorie diets. However, decreasing body weight is associated with decreased bone mineral density, which increases the risk for osteoporosis (weakening of the bones) and hip fractures in older men and women.

Dennis T. Villareal, M.D., Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, and colleagues studied the effects of weight loss on bone loss in 48 adults (30 women and 18 men, with an average age of 57). Nineteen were assigned to follow a calorie-restricted diet (to decrease energy intake by 16 percent for three months, then by 20 percent for nine months), 19 to eat the same number of calories and begin an exercise program (to maintain energy intake, but increase energy expenditure by 16 percent for three months and 20 percent for nine months) and 10 to receive information on healthy lifestyles only when requested. All participants were weighed at the beginning of the study and again after one, three, six, nine and 12 months. Bone mineral density was measured every three months using a technique known as dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry. At the start of the study and after six months and 12 months, blood samples were taken to test for hormones and chemical markers that show whether bone tissue is being absorbed and regenerated.

Forty-six of the participants completed the study. After one year, those in the calorie restriction group lost an average of 8.2 kilograms or 18.1 pounds, those in the exercise intervention group lost 6.7 kilograms or 14.8 pounds an
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Contact: Jim Dryden
314-286-0110
JAMA and Archives Journals
11-Dec-2006


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