Looking at data from nearly 10,000 adults between the ages of 20 and 59 over the course of seven years, the researchers measured participants’ body fat percentage and bone density through dual-energy X-ray bone densitometry (DXA), and further recorded participants’ activity levels.
And was what may come as no surprise, a sedentary lifestyle was associated with a higher body fat percentage. But it was also associated with worse bone density, relative to the more physically active participants.
Those physically active participants not only showed lower body fat, but also greater bone density.
“Our results show that physical activity is a key component of maintaining bone health in both men and women, and is strongly associated with lower body fat percentages” the study authors write, adding, “Sedentary activity is negatively correlated with bone density and is strongly associated with an increase in body fat percentage.”
They also note that going forward, healthcare workers should suggest patients increase physical activity for help preventing osteoporosis and obesity.