Bones of obese children may be in trouble

Bones of obese children may be in trouble

Studies have shown that obese children tend to have more muscle, but recent University of Georgia research on the muscle and bone relationship shows that excess body fat may compromise other functions in their bodies, such as bone growth.

In a literature review, lead author Joseph Kindler studied how muscle can influence different characteristics of bone geometry and strength in children. The review was published in the journal Current Opinion in Endocrinology, Diabetes and Obesity.

For this particular review, researchers were interested in looking at the geometry of bones--the measures of size and strength of the bone--particularly for children and adolescents. Kindler pulled together previously published findings to give an up-to-date look at how muscle influences bone geometry and bone strength during youth. The role of fat in these relationships was also investigated.

Based on the research they gathered, muscle was a strong contributor to bone growth throughout childhood and adolescence. However, this relationship may differ in children with greater body fat.

The excess fat that accompanies obesity can be deposited within the muscle. There is emerging evidence that suggests this fat within the muscle may have an effect on how the bone grows, according to the review.

Understanding how excess fat, specifically that within the muscle, can influence the muscle and bone relationship in children is still under investigation, but there is clearly a connection, author said.