How Obesity Negatively Affects The Joints

What’s the link between obesity and skeletal health?

At least 2 studies have now shown the negative impact that obesity can have on one’s skeletal health, thereby highlighting the importance of losing weight, especially through bariatric surgery when necessary.

The first of the studies found a correlational link between obesity “and a higher risk for surgery in orthopaedic trauma patients”. Furthermore, what was particularly fascinating about the study was that the researches discovered that those patients who were obese spent longer in the hospital and therefore had greater treatment costs. On top of this “there were also more likely to be discharged to a care facility, rather than to home”.

Essentially, the study discovered the following:

“Obesity increased the risk of surgery: 72% of the obese patients required surgical treatment”.
“Patients with a lower BMI had shorter hospital stays”
“Mean hospital costs were $160,606 for non-obese patients and $234,863 for obese patients”.

But what has all of this got to do with skeletal health?

In another study, involving animals, researchers at the University of Missouri “examined how the development of obesity and insulin resistance contributes to bone-fracture risk”. The study concluded that the obesity and Type 2 diabetes negatively affected bone; the bone quality was not very good as once thought, meaning that they have an increased risk of fractures.

What is more concerning and alarming about the study is that a link was found between bone mass and obesity; i.e. those that were obese did not accumulate “as much bone mass relative to their body weight”. The researchers concluded that “decreased bone formation, loss of bone mass and decreased bone strength were present in the obese animals”.

The important of losing weight can therefore be seen as vital. One’s bone strength, quality and mass is impacted by obesity and therefore losing weight is necessary to increase skeletal health. Moreover, by losing weight there is a decrease in the risk of orthopaedic trauma.