Effect of Exercise Modality During Weight Loss on Bone Health in Older Adults With Obesity and Cardiovascular Disease or Metabolic Syndrome: A Randomized Controlled Trial

J Bone Miner Res. 2018 Dec;33(12):2140-2149. doi: 10.1002/jbmr.3555. Epub 2018 Aug 7.


The objective of this study was to determine the ability of either aerobic or resistance training to counter weight-loss-associated bone loss in older adults. There were 187 older adults (67 years, 70% women, 64% white) with obesity (BMI = 34.5 ± 3.7 kg/m2 ) and cardiovascular disease and/or metabolic syndrome who were randomized to participate in an 18-month, community-based trial, with a follow-up assessment at 30 months. Intervention arms included: weight loss alone (WL; 7% to 10% baseline weight), WL plus aerobic training (WL + AT), and WL plus resistance training (WL + RT), as well as DXA-acquired total hip, femoral neck, and lumbar spine areal bone mineral density (aBMD), and trabecular bone score (TBS). Biomarkers of bone turnover (procollagen type 1 N-terminal propeptide, C-terminal telopeptide of type 1 collagen) were measured at baseline, 6, 18, and 30 (aBMD and TBS only) months. CT-acquired hip and spine volumetric BMD (vBMD), cortical thickness, and bone strength were measured in a subset at baseline (n = 55) and 18 months. Total hip aBMD was reduced by 2% in all groups at 18 months, with a primary analysis showing no significant treatment effects for any DXA, biomarker, or CT outcome. After adjustment for WL and follow-up at 30 months, secondary analyses revealed that total hip [-0.018 (-0.023 to -0.012) g/cm2 versus -0.025 (-0.031 to -0.019) g/cm2 ; p = 0.05] and femoral neck [-0.01 (-0.009 to 0.008) g/cm2 versus -0.011 (-0.020 to -0.002) g/cm2 ; p = 0.06] aBMD estimates were modestly attenuated in the WL + RT group compared with the WL group. Additionally, lumbar spine aBMD was increased in the WL [0.015 (0.007 to 0.024) g/cm2 ] and the WL + RT [0.009 (0.000 to 0.017) g/cm2 ] groups compared with the WL + AT [-0.003 (-0.012 to 0.005)g/cm2 ] group; both p ≤ 0.01. Community-based exercise does not prevent bone loss during active WL in older adults; however, adding RT may help minimize long-term hip bone loss. © 2018 American Society for Bone and Mineral Research.


Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Absorptiometry, Photon
  • Aged
  • Biomarkers / metabolism
  • Bone Density
  • Bone and Bones / diagnostic imaging
  • Bone and Bones / pathology*
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / complications*
  • Exercise / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Metabolic Syndrome / complications*
  • Obesity / complications*
  • Obesity / physiopathology*
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed
  • Weight Loss*


  • Biomarkers