Overweight Postmenopausal Women Lose Bone With Moderate Weight Reduction and 1 g/day Calcium Intake


  • The authors have no conflict of interest.


Overweight postmenopausal women may be more susceptible to bone loss with weight reduction than previously studied obese women. The influence of energy restriction and Ca intake on BMD was assessed in 66 individuals. Weight reduction resulted in bone loss at several sites in women consuming 1 g Ca/day and was mitigated with higher calcium intake at 1.7 g/day.

Introduction: Bone loss is associated with weight loss in obese postmenopausal women and can be prevented with calcium (Ca) supplementation. However, because bone loss caused by weight loss may be greater in overweight than obese women, it is not clear whether Ca supplementation is also beneficial in overweight women.

Materials and Methods: We assessed the influence of caloric restriction at two levels of Ca intake on BMD and BMC in 66 overweight postmenopausal women (age, 61 ± 6 years; body mass index, 27.0 ± 1.8 kg/m2). Subjects completed either a 6-month energy-restricted diet (WL, n = 47) and lost 9.3 ± 3.9 % weight or maintained weight (WM; 1 g Ca/day, n = 19). Participants in the WL group were randomly assigned to either normal (1 g/day; WL NL-Ca) or high (1.7 g/day; WL Hi-Ca) Ca intake. Regional BMD and BMC were measured at baseline and after 6 months.

Results: During normal Ca intake, trochanter BMD and BMC and total spine BMD were decreased more in WL than WM women (p < 0.05). The WL NL-Ca group lost more trochanter BMD (−4.2 ± 4.1%) and BMC (−4.8 ± 7.1%) than the WL Hi-Ca group (−1.4 ± 5.6% and −1.1 ± 8.1%, respectively; p < 0.05). There were no significant changes in BMD or BMC at the femoral neck in any group. Weight loss correlated with trochanter BMD loss (r = 0.687, p < 0.001) in the WL NL-Ca group.

Conclusion: Despite an intake of 1 g Ca/day, bone loss occurred at some sites because of weight loss. Calcium intake of 1.7 g/day will minimize bone loss during weight loss in postmenopausal overweight women.