Study links marital status, quality to bone health in men
A study conducted by University of California, Los Angeles, researchers found that men who marry for the first time before the age 25 have lower bone density in the spine than those who marry at an older age. Moreover, researchers discovered a significant reduction in bone strength for each year men married before age 25.
The study appears online in Osteoporosis International.
“Very early marriage was detrimental in men, likely because of the stresses of having to provide for a family,” study co-author Arun Karlamangla, MD, stated in a university press release.
Karlamangla, senior author Carolyn J. Crandall, MD, FACP, and colleagues used hip and spine bone-density scanner measurements and other data from the Midlife in the United States (MIDUS) and MIDUS II studies to analyze 294 men and 338 women.
Researchers also found men who reported being in long-term, stable marriages or had “marriage- like” bonds had stronger bones than men who never married or men who were currently married but previously experienced divorce or separation, according to the press release.
The relationship between bone health and marital status were apparent in the spine but not in the hip, which researchers hypothesized could be due to differences in bone composition.
The researchers also found women with supportive marital partners had greater bone strength than those without such relationships.
“There is very little known about the influence of social factors — other than socioeconomic factors — on bone health,” Crandall stated in the press release. “Good health depends not only on good health behaviors, such as maintaining a healthy diet and not smoking, but also on other social aspects of life, such as marital life stories and quality of relationships.”
The authors will next focus on biological pathways to explore the connection between bone health and marital status.
Crandall C. Osteoporos Int. 2014;doi: 10.1007/s00198-013-2602-4
Disclosure: Orthopedics Today was unable to determine whether the authors had any relevant financial disclosures.