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Marital History and Support Linked to Bone Health

Marital disruption impairs bone health in men; marital support linked to high BMD in women

WEDNESDAY, Jan. 29, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Marital history, including disruptions and age at marriage, is associated with bone health in men, while marital support correlates with bone health in women, according to a study published online Jan. 15 in Osteoporosis International.

Dana Miller-Martinez, M.P.H., from the David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California Los Angeles, and colleagues analyzed data from 632 adult participants in the Midlife in the United States Study to examine associations between marital history and bone mineral density (BMD).

The researchers found that men who were currently divorced, widowed, or separated; men who were currently married but previously divorced, widowed, or separated; and never married men had lower lumbar spine BMD (0.33, 0.36, and 0.53 standard deviations [SD], respectively), compared with stably married men. Every year decrement in age at first marriage (under age 25) in men married at least once correlated with 0.07 SD decrement in lumbar spine BMD. For women, higher lumbar spine BMD was associated with greater support from the spouse.

"Our findings suggest that marriage before age 25 and marital disruptions are deleterious to bone health in men, and that marital quality is associated with better bone health in women," the authors write.

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