Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Research Considers Lean Mass Better For Developing Bones

“South Dakota State University research shows that a child with leaner body mass, or muscle, builds bigger bones than a child who weighs the same but has a greater percentage of fat. ‘We were interested in the relative influence of lean mass, which is muscle, versus fat mass on how bone grows as kids grow,’ said Howard Wey, an associate professor in SDSU's College of Nursing. Wey and professor Bonny Specker, director and chair of the Ethel Austin Martin Program in Human Nutrition at SDSU, are continuing to study the issue. They have analyzed data Specker and her team have assembled by taking bone and body composition measurements of rural Hutterite children in South Dakota. ‘There's a little bit of controversy because weight itself has a positive influence on bone,’ said Wey. ‘Heavier individuals tend to have more bone just to support their weight.’ The SDSU study was designed to look deeper at that issue to see whether there are differences in how lean mass and fat mass correlate with bone development. Wey presented the findings at the annual meeting of the Pediatric Academic Societies in Baltimore in early May. ‘A larger child is going to have larger bones just because he's heavier,’ Wey said. ‘But if you have two kids at the same weight, the one whose weight is dominated by fat mass is more likely to have smaller bones than the one whose weight is dominated by lean mass. Smaller bones are weaker than larger bones.’”

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