Overweight children are at greater risk of bone fractures and are more likely to develop osteoporosis in old age, reveals study.
obese children develop bigger skeletons in order to carry their extra weight, reports the Independent.
The Medical Research Council (MRC) study involving 499 healthy six-year-old children found their bigger bones have five to six percent lower bone density, because they lack enough minerals to make them strong.
It suggested childhood obesity will increase the risk of osteoporosis, and debilitating hip and back fractures in old age, as 90 per cent of bone mass is acquired in childhood, directly affecting how strong bones are in later life.
The children are part of a much larger cohort being studied by MRC scientists at the Lifecourse Epidemiology Unit in Southampton, in an attempt to understand how lifestyle, diet and other environmental factors in pregnancy and childhood influence diseases of ageing, such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
Zoe Cole, rheumatologist and researcher, said the findings made tackling childhood obesity even more urgent as the costs of osteoporosis are unaffordable.
The study will be presented at the British Society for Rheumatology conference this week.