(HealthDay News) — For men, but not women, with type 2 diabetes, a 4-year weight loss intervention is associated with a small, but significant increase in bone loss, according to a study published online 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 (BMD). 

The trial randomly assigned 1,309 overweight and obese individuals with type 2 diabetes to an intensive lifestyle intervention vs. a diabetes support and education intervention. The researchers assessed BMD at baseline and after 1 and 4 years of intervention.

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The researchers found that, compared with the diabetes support and education intervention, the intensive lifestyle intervention produced significant weight loss (5.3% vs. 1.8%; P<.01) and increased fitness (6.4% vs. −0.8%) at year 4. 

During the first year, men in the intensive lifestyle intervention group had a greater rate of bone loss than those in the diabetes support and education intervention group (−1.66% vs. −0.09% per year). The between-group difference was attenuated after 4 years, but remained significant (−0.88% vs. −0.05% per year; P<.01). 

Over 4 years, the between-group difference in the rate of hip bone loss was related to increased weight loss in the intensive lifestyle intervention group. After 4 years, there was no between-group difference in the rate of bone loss for women.

“A 4-year weight loss intervention was significantly associated with a modest increase in bone loss at the hip in men but not in women,” the researchers wrote.

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


  1. Lipkin EW et al. Diabetes Care. 2014;doi:10.2337/dc14-0762.