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Obesity in adolescence and childhood causes a lot of health risks including diabetes and cardiovascular disease. A new study to be presented in the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA)’s annual meeting says that obese teenagers may be permanently damaging their bones.

Recent studies reveal that forearm fractures occur more in obese youths, says Miriam A. Bredella, M.D., the study’s lead author who is also a radiologist at Massachusetts General Hospital, and an associate professor of radiology at Harvard Medical School in Boston.

The research team wanted to figure out the relationship between bone structure and adolescent obesity. The ongoing research studied 23 obese adolescents with a mean BMI of 44 kg/m2 and mean age of 17 years.

They used specific computed tomography exam to measure bone micro-architecture and mineral density. Dual-energy ex-ray absorptiometry (DXA) exams were used to determine visceral fat mass and lean mass.

Adolescence is the time when we accumulate our peak bone mass. Bone loss during this time is a serious problem. Chronic bone loss conditions in adolescence leads to increased fracture risk in adulthood, even after the body weight becomes normal. Addressing this problem early is therefore important.

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