"We found that higher fat mass was related to lower bone density, and these trends were stronger in men than women," said Rajesh K Jain, MD, the University of Chicago Medicine in Chicago, Illinois.

"Our research suggests that the effect of body weight depends on a person's makeup of lean and fat mass and that high body weight alone is not a guarantee against osteoporosis."

The researchers analysed the bone mineral density and body composition data of 10,814 people under 60 years old from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) 2011-2018. They found a strong positive association between lean mass and bone mineral density in both men and women.

Conversely, the fat mass had a moderately negative association with bone mineral density, especially in men.

"Health care providers should consider osteoporosis screening for patients with high body weight, especially if they have other risk factors like older age, previous fracture, family history, or steroid use," Jain said.

Tamara Vokes of the University of Chicago Medicine is the co-author of the study.

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