Nav: Home

Bones of obese children may be in trouble, UGA study finds

December 21, 2015

Athens, Ga. - 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.

"It's a common understanding that, in children, muscle is a very strong determinant of how bone is going to grow," said Kindler, a doctoral candidate at UGA's College of Family and Consumer Sciences' department of foods and nutrition. "Obese children will tend to have more muscle, so we would suspect that they would also have larger, stronger bones."

What researchers found during the review was less clear.

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, Kindler said.

"It's an emerging area of research," he said.

Kindler typically studies the different ways to measure bone--bone geometry being less studied than the commonly reported bone density. With bone geometry, researchers are able to determine the spatial distribution of the bone and how tightly packed an individual's bone mineral content is in his or her body.

These bone geometric features can tell researchers just how strong a bone is.

"These were the skeletal characteristics we were looking for in this review, particularly in children," Kindler said.

In the study, they also identified where gaps in research still remain.

"This paper summarizes the literature that's been published. We know that muscle is such an important contributor to bone development," Kindler said. "But it also shows that our understanding of how fat influences these relationships is still unclear."

The authors hope to use the review to identify and fill holes in these research gaps, particularly understanding these problems in children.

"One of our major goals is to understand how obesity-related conditions, like the progression of Type 2 diabetes, can influence muscle and bone growth in children," Kindler said.

Because of the potential harmful connection between body fat and bone growth, Kindler recommends that children strive to live a healthy lifestyle through proper diet and physical activity.
-end-
Additional study co-authors are Richard Lewis, a professor of foods and nutrition at UGA's College of Family and Consumer Sciences, and Mark Hamrick, a professor of cellular biology and anatomy at Georgia Regents University.

The study, "Skeletal muscle and pediatric bone development," is available online at http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26414082.

University of Georgia

Related Diabetes Articles:

The role of vitamin A in diabetes
There has been no known link between diabetes and vitamin A -- until now.
Can continuous glucose monitoring improve diabetes control in patients with type 1 diabetes who inject insulin
Two studies in the Jan. 24/31 issue of JAMA find that use of a sensor implanted under the skin that continuously monitors glucose levels resulted in improved levels in patients with type 1 diabetes who inject insulin multiple times a day, compared to conventional treatment.
Complications of type 2 diabetes affect quality of life, care can lead to diabetes burnout
T2D Lifestyle, a national survey by Health Union of more than 400 individuals experiencing type 2 diabetes (T2D), reveals that patients not only struggle with commonly understood complications, but also numerous lesser known ones that people do not associate with diabetes.
Type 2 diabetes and obesity -- what do we really know?
Social and economic factors have led to a dramatic rise in type 2 diabetes and obesity around the world.
A better way to predict diabetes
An international team of researchers has discovered a simple, accurate new way to predict which women with gestational diabetes will develop type 2 diabetes after delivery.
The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology: Older Americans with diabetes living longer without disability, US study shows
Older Americans with diabetes born in the 1940s are living longer and with less disability performing day to day tasks than those born 10 years earlier, according to new research published in The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology journal.
Reverse your diabetes -- and you can stay diabetes-free long-term
A new study from Newcastle University, UK, has shown that people who reverse their diabetes and then keep their weight down remain free of diabetes.
New cause of diabetes
Although insulin-producing cells are found in the endocrine tissue of the pancreas, a new mouse study suggests that abnormalities in the exocrine tissue could cause cell non-autonomous effects that promotes diabetes-like symptoms.
The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology: Reducing sugar content in sugar-sweetened drinks by 40 percent over 5 years could prevent 1.5 million cases of overweight and obesity in the UK and 300,000 cases of diabetes
A new study published in The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology journal suggests that reducing sugar content in sugar sweetened drinks (including fruit juices) in the UK by 40 percent over five years, without replacing them with any artificial sweeteners, could prevent 500,000 cases of overweight and 1 million cases of obesity, in turn preventing around 300,000 cases of type 2 diabetes, over two decades.
Breastfeeding lowers risk of type 2 diabetes following gestational diabetes
Women with gestational diabetes who consistently and continuously breastfeed from the time of giving birth are half as likely to develop type 2 diabetes within two years after delivery, according to a study from Kaiser Permanente published today in Annals of Internal Medicine.

Related Diabetes Reading:

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Anthropomorphic
Do animals grieve? Do they have language or consciousness? For a long time, scientists resisted the urge to look for human qualities in animals. This hour, TED speakers explore how that is changing. Guests include biological anthropologist Barbara King, dolphin researcher Denise Herzing, primatologist Frans de Waal, and ecologist Carl Safina.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#SB2 2019 Science Birthday Minisode: Mary Golda Ross
Our second annual Science Birthday is here, and this year we celebrate the wonderful Mary Golda Ross, born 9 August 1908. She died in 2008 at age 99, but left a lasting mark on the science of rocketry and space exploration as an early woman in engineering, and one of the first Native Americans in engineering. Join Rachelle and Bethany for this very special birthday minisode celebrating Mary and her achievements. Thanks to our Patreons who make this show possible! Read more about Mary G. Ross: Interview with Mary Ross on Lash Publications International, by Laurel Sheppard Meet Mary Golda...