Bariatric Weight-Loss Surgery

How a High BMI Affects Your Bone Health and Why You Should Care

Dr. Jason F. Moy
Dr. Brian T. Chin
Daniel Roman
August 13, 2022
How a High BMI Affects Your Bone Health and Why You Should Care

Bones provide the framework for our bodies. Therefore, it is important to maintain healthy bones, especially as we age and natural bone loss begins to accelerate. Conversely, a high body mass index (BMI) can harm bone health for various reasons. 

Bone is a living tissue that is constantly changing. New bone forms and old bone breaks down throughout your life. When you are young, your body makes new bone faster than it breaks down old bone, so your bone mass increases. At around age 30, most people have reached their maximum bone mass. Bone breakdown outpaces bone formation. This is why taking care of our bones is so important at any age. 

BMI measures body fat based on height and weight, which applies to adult men and women. BMI is not a perfect indication of health, but it is a component to help measure it. Being obese is a condition involving excessive body fat that increases the risk of health problems. Obesity is commonly the result of taking in more calories than is burned through exercise and normal daily activities. 

For quite a while, studies were showing a link between obesity and greater bone density. However, those findings have been challenged lately. New research is concluding that obesity adversely affects bone health by an alteration of bone-regulating hormones. It also increases oxidative stress and inflammation in the body and alters bone cell metabolism. Weight-bearing exercises like walking, jogging, and climbing stairs can help build strong bones and slow bone loss. However, it can be difficult for people who are obese to perform these types of exercises. It can even be dangerous if their condition, plus other factors, make them a fall risk. 

People who are overweight have higher BMIs. A higher BMI indicates poor health, but it's a good starting point for gauging overall health. This includes bone health. 

Body Mass Index Chart: Why It Matters  

A normal, healthy BMI is between 18.5 and 25. A BMI between 25 and 30 is considered overweight, and a person with a BMI over 30 is considered obese. A person with a BMI less than 18.5 is underweight and has additional health risks, as well. 

As mentioned above, BMI is not a perfect test. Certain circumstances will affect the validity of BMI. For example, pregnancy can alter results and those with high muscle mass. Most experts agree that a BMI chart is not an accurate measurement for children or the senior population. We do know, however, that statistics show a direct link between high BMI and increased risk for the following list of health conditions: 

  • Diabetes 
  • Osteoarthritis 
  • Liver disease
  • Various types of cancer 
  • Hypertension (high blood pressure)
  • High cholesterol
  • Sleep apnea

A BMI Index Chart can help you determine where you fall using the following formulation:

weight (lb) / [height (in)]2 x 703

Obese BMI Chart: One Factor In Gauging Overall Health  

BMI is an essential factor in determining overall health and wellness. But, it is just one single factor. Overall health combines the BMI scale and additional critical health factors such as: 

  • Blood pressure
  • Heart rate
  • Blood sugar
  • Cholesterol
  • Inflammation
  • Lean muscle mass vs. fat mass
  • Waist circumference

If your BMI calculator places you into an obese BMI chart category, ask your doctor to perform additional tests like the ones mentioned above. This will provide a more comprehensive gauge of your overall health. If you’re serious about combating obesity and the health-related concerns that come with it, request a consultation with BASS Bariatric Surgery Center. We believe every person deserves to live a healthy, accessible, and high-quality life. So contact one of our experts today to help you reach your weight loss goals. With BASS Bariatric, weight loss becomes a reality.

About The Author

Daniel Roman, Content Writer

Daniel Roman is a Digital Content Writer at BASS Medical Group. He received his Masters in Journalism from UC Berkeley in 2021. Daniel has published multiple newspaper articles covering public health issues. His latest was a magazine cover story on pandemics and diseases that he co-wrote with Dr. Elena Conis, a historian of medicine, public health, and the environment.

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