Obesity in postmenopausal women increases risk for fractures

Postmenopausal obese women are almost as likely to fracture as non-obese women.

Washington: A new study has shown that postmenopausal obese women are almost as likely to fracture as non-obese women, and that poor mobility and increased risk of falls may play an important role.

Obesity is widely believed to be protective against fracture, but the study documented a high prevalence of obesity in postmenopausal women with fragility fracture.

The study compared prevalence and location of fractures in obese and non-obese postmenopausal women and examined specific risk factors for fracture.

A history of fracture after age 45 years was observed in 23 percent of obese and 24 percent of non-obese women.

Nearly one in four postmenopausal women with fractures is obese.

The upper arm, ankle and lower leg were significantly more likely to be affected in obese than non-obese women with a prevalent fracture, whereas fractures of the wrist, hip and pelvis were significantly less common than in non-obese women.

When compared to non-obese women, obese women with a prevalent fracture were more likely to be current cortisone users, to report early menopause, to report fair or poor general health, to use arms to assist standing from a sitting position, and to report more than two falls in the past year.

The findings were presented at the European Congress on Osteoporosis and Osteoarthritis.