How bones dif­fer be­tween the sexes

Runner's World (UK) - - Bone Health -

Through­out child­hood and early adult­hood the pat­tern of bone growth is sim­i­lar in males and fe­males but there­after it starts to dif­fer, says ex­er­cise medicine con­sul­tant Dr Cathy SpencerSmith. ‘Much of the quality of bone is dic­tated by lev­els of sex hor­mones (oe­stro­gen and pro­ges­terone in women and testos­terone in men),’ she says. ‘The higher the lev­els, the health­ier the bone. Men typ­i­cally have higher bone-min­eral den­sity (BMD) than women, some­thing that be­comes an ad­van­tage in later years, as BMD can start to drop off by one to two per cent per year af­ter the age of 50.’ This de­cline is in­creased for a time too as women go through the menopause and their pro­duc­tion of sex hor­mones de­creases sharply. And the diet cul­ture, which Spencer-smith says is more preva­lent among women than men, means more pe­ri­ods of time where calo­rie in­take is de­creased, which can fur­ther lower bone min­eral den­sity. How­ever, di­ets have more im­pact on male BMD than fe­male. ‘Men are now fall­ing into the trap of un­der-con­sum­ing calo­ries,’ says Spencer-smith, ‘and with higher av­er­age body weights the forces felt by men’s skele­tons are higher, am­pli­fy­ing any prob­lems with train­ing. Men with a body mass in­dex of 25 and above are par­tic­u­larly at risk of bonere­lated in­juries.’ Depart­ment of Health guide­lines for healthy daily calo­rie con­sump­tion are 2,500 for men and 2,000 for women, though your needs will be higher when train­ing.

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