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Man Power Declines as Obesity Increases

Update Date: Dec 18, 2013 03:57 PM EST

Obesity, which is now an official disease, affects physical and mental health. In terms of physical health, studies have tied obesity to high blood pressure, high cholesterol and heart disease. Now, in a new study, researchers found that obesity also contributes to a loss in man power and strength. According to the researchers, as obesity increases for men, their bones and muscles get weaker.

For this study, the research team from Daekin University's School of Medicine recruited 1329 men between the ages of 25 and 96. The men were from the Geelong region of Australia and their body mass index (BMI), fat, muscle and bone density were measured from 2001 to 2006. The team then recorded the same measurements from a sample group of 900 men from a similar age group five years later.

Based on these measurements, the researchers calculated that a 1.2 percent increase in BMI was tied to a 0.9 percent decrease in muscle mass and a 1.6 percent reduction in bone mass. The researchers noted that an increase in BMI was linked to a nine percent increase in body fat.
"Obesity in men is clearly on the rise. But an even more alarming finding is that while body fat has increased, muscles and bones have deteriorated," Professor Julie Pasco, the lead investigator said according to Medical Xpress. "Obesity is bad enough as it increases the risk for diseases such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes. However we are now seeing that the musculoskeletal system (bones and muscle) could be affected too."

The researchers noted that even though the changes in muscle and bone mass were relatively small, these changes could affect men's health in the long term. For example, bone loss could lead to osteoporosis. In addition, muscle and bone loss could make people weak, less mobile and more dependent as they age.

The results were a part of the Geelong Osteoporosis Study, which tracks the health status of people from Geelong for over two decades. The study, "Musculoskeletal deterioration in men accompanies increases in body fat," was published in the journal, Obesity.

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