(HealthDay News) — For men, but not women, with type 2 diabetes, a four-year weight loss intervention is associated with a small, but significant increase in bone loss, according to a study published online July 21 in Diabetes Care.

Edward W. Lipkin, MD, PhD, from the VA Puget Sound Health Care System and University of Washington in Seattle, and colleagues examined the long-term impact of a randomized trial of intensive weight loss on bone mineral density. The trial randomized 1,309 overweight and obese individuals with type 2 diabetes to an intensive lifestyle intervention (ILI) versus a diabetes support and education (DSE) intervention. The authors assessed bone mineral density at baseline and after one and four years of intervention.

The researchers found that, compared with the DSE intervention, the ILI produced significant weight loss (5.3 vs. 1.8%; P<0.01) and increased fitness (6.4 vs. −0.8%) at year four. During the first year, men in the ILI had a greater rate of bone loss than those in the DSE intervention group (−1.66 vs. −0.09% per year). The between-group difference was attenuated after four years, but remained significant (−0.88 vs. −0.05% per year; P<0.01). Over four years, the between-group difference in the rate of hip bone loss was related to increased weight loss in the ILI group. After four years there was no between-group difference in the rate of bone loss for women.

“A four-year weight loss intervention was significantly associated with a modest increase in bone loss at the hip in men but not in women,” the authors write.

Several pharmaceutical and nutrition companies provided funding for the Look AHEAD Trial.

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