While body fat was long thought to protect against osteoporosis, a new study suggests that it may instead be contributing towards the disease.

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According to the new study, high levels of belly fat may hurt bone health and increase women's risk for developing the bone-weakening disease. Visceral fat (located between organs in the abdominal cavity) were found to have reduced the bone-mineral density in obese women. A low density of minerals in the bones is known to increase the risk for osteoporosis, a condition characterized by weak bones that are prone to fracture.

In contrast, fat under the skin in other places in the body, called subcutaneous fat, did not demonstrate such a link.

The new study was presented November 30 during the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America.

via WebMD