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Horm Mol Biol Clin Investig. 2016 Dec 1;28(3):133-149. doi: 10.1515/hmbci-2016-0025.

Effects of obesity treatments on bone mineral density, bone turnover and fracture risk in adults with overweight or obesity.



New evidence suggests that obesity is deleterious for bone health, and obesity treatments could potentially exacerbate this.


This narrative review, largely based on recent systematic reviews and meta-analyses, synthesizes the effects on bone of bariatric surgery, weight loss pharmaceuticals and dietary restriction.


All three obesity treatments result in statistically significant reductions in hip bone mineral density (BMD) and increases in bone turnover relative to pre-treatment values, with the reductions in hip BMD being strongest for bariatric surgery, notably Roux-en Y gastric bypass (RYGB, 8%-11% of pre-surgical values) and weakest for dietary restriction (1%-1.5% of pre-treatment values). Weight loss pharmaceuticals (orlistat or the glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor agonist, liraglutide) induced no greater changes from pre-treatment values than control, despite greater weight loss. There is suggestive evidence that liraglutide may increase bone mineral content (BMC) - but not BMD - and reduce fracture risk, but more research is required to clarify this. All three obesity treatments have variable effects on spine BMD, probably due to greater measurement error at this site in obesity, suggesting that future research in this field could focus on hip rather than spine BMD. Various mechanisms have been proposed for BMD loss with obesity treatments, notably reduced nutritional intake/absorption and insufficient exercise, and these are potential avenues for protection against bone loss. However, a pressing outstanding question is whether this BMD reduction contributes to increased fracture risk, as has been observed after RYGB, and whether any such increase in fracture risk outweighs the risks of staying obese (unlikely).

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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