Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started
My Medicine

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Men's Health

Font Size

Belly Fat Bad for Men's Bones

Belly Fat Bad for the Bones: Study Details continued...

Their average body mass index, or BMI, was 36.5; values of 30 and higher are considered obese.

The men underwent CT scans of the abdomen and thigh to assess fat and muscle mass. Then they were divided into two groups, depending on whether they had more visceral (belly) fat located deep under the muscle tissue in the abdomen or more fat located below the skin in the thigh and buttock areas.

Then the researchers took high-resolution CT scans of the men's forearms and wrists. A sophisticated computer technique was used to assess bone strength and predict fracture risk.

"It's a technique that is frequently used in mechanical engineering to determine the breaking point of materials used in the design of bridges and airplanes, among other things," Bredella says.

Because use of the technique to measure bone strength is so novel, researchers don't know for sure what normal values should be. "But what we can say is that the more belly fat a man had, the weaker his bones," she says.

Overall, the researchers predicted that obese men with deep belly fat would be 25% more likely to break a bone than obese men with more superficial fat.

They also found an association between greater muscle mass and increased bone strength; however BMI and age had no effect on bone strength.

What to Do?

So what's an obese man with a lot of belly fat to do?

Where you gain fat is for the most part genetically determined, Bredella says. "But it is one more reason not to gain excess weight in the first place," she says.

Weight-bearing exercises like brisk walking and aerobics are "really good for building strong bone," she says. And resistance and strength training exercises such as lifting weights and climbing stairs are also helpful, Bredella says.

These findings were presented at a medical conference. They should be considered preliminary, as they have not yet undergone the "peer review" process, in which outside experts scrutinize the data prior to publication in a medical journal.

1 | 2

Today on WebMD

man coughing
Men shouldn’t ignore.
man swinging in hammock
And how to get out it.
shaving tools
On your shaving skills.
muscular man flexing
Four facts that matter.
Food Men 10 Foods Boost Male Health
Thoughtful man sitting on bed
Man taking blood pressure
doctor holding syringe
Condom Quiz
man running
older couple in bed