Low Body Weight May Be Risky for Female Runners’ Bones

iStock
iStock

What’s good for the track team may not be so great for the runner. A new study published in the journal Current Orthopaedic Practice concludes that female runners with lower body weight are both more susceptible to bone injuries and slower to heal.

The idea that thinness equals health is of the biggest health misconceptions out there. It’s certainly among the most harmful. Discrimination against overweight people limits their access to jobs, health insurance, and good medical care, while doctors can overlook illness in seemingly "healthy" thin people.

On top of that, it’s simply not true. Some studies have found little correlation between body mass index (BMI) and health, while others suggest that being overweight may even have a protective effect against certain diseases.

And, as the authors of the current paper discovered, having a low BMI can carry risks of its own. The researchers, all from the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, had set out to investigate which factors, if any, could make runners more vulnerable to stress fractures in their bones. For three years, they interviewed and examined every female track and field athlete who arrived in their medical center with a stress fracture. They saw a total of 18 athletes, with 24 fractures among them.

The Ohio State University

Some of those fractures were worse than others. Some took longer to heal. And some athletes seemed more prone to getting injured all over again. Those athletes were the thinnest—specifically, women with a BMI under 19.

The "normal" range for BMI starts at 18.5 and goes to 24.9, which means that women on the low end of "normal" can still face a higher risk.

Coaches consider low weight a good thing because it can increase a runner's speed. But there’s only so much fat a person can burn. After a while, these athlete’s bodies start burning muscle, too. And that, lead author Timothy Miller says, is where the trouble can begin.

"When body mass index is very low and muscle mass is depleted, there is nowhere for the shock of running to be absorbed other than directly into the bones,” he said in a statement.

While BMI may be a notoriously unreliable indicator of health, Miller says it’s "imperative" that women know theirs and "work to maintain a healthy level," he added. "They should also include resistance training in their training regimen to strengthen the lower leg to prevent injury, even if that means adding weight from additional muscle mass," Miller said.

Looking to Downsize? You Can Buy a 5-Room DIY Cabin on Amazon for Less Than $33,000

Five rooms of one's own.
Five rooms of one's own.
Allwood/Amazon

If you’ve already mastered DIY houses for birds and dogs, maybe it’s time you built one for yourself.

As Simplemost reports, there are a number of house kits that you can order on Amazon, and the Allwood Avalon Cabin Kit is one of the quaintest—and, at $32,990, most affordable—options. The 540-square-foot structure has enough space for a kitchen, a bathroom, a bedroom, and a sitting room—and there’s an additional 218-square-foot loft with the potential to be the coziest reading nook of all time.

You can opt for three larger rooms if you're willing to skip the kitchen and bathroom.Allwood/Amazon

The construction process might not be a great idea for someone who’s never picked up a hammer, but you don’t need an architectural degree to tackle it. Step-by-step instructions and all materials are included, so it’s a little like a high-level IKEA project. According to the Amazon listing, it takes two adults about a week to complete. Since the Nordic wood walls are reinforced with steel rods, the house can withstand winds up to 120 mph, and you can pay an extra $1000 to upgrade from double-glass windows and doors to triple-glass for added fortification.

Sadly, the cool ceiling lamp is not included.Allwood/Amazon

Though everything you need for the shell of the house comes in the kit, you will need to purchase whatever goes inside it: toilet, shower, sink, stove, insulation, and all other furnishings. You can also customize the blueprint to fit your own plans for the space; maybe, for example, you’re going to use the house as a small event venue, and you’d rather have two or three large, airy rooms and no kitchen or bedroom.

Intrigued? Find out more here.

[h/t Simplemost]

This article contains affiliate links to products selected by our editors. Mental Floss may receive a commission for purchases made through these links.

More Than 38,000 Pounds of Ground Beef Has Been Recalled

Beef-ware.
Beef-ware.
Angele J, Pexels

Your lettuce-based summer salads are safe for the moment, but there are other products you should be careful about using these days: Certain brands of hand sanitizer, for example, have been recalled for containing methanol. And as Real Simple reports, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS) recently recalled 38,406 pounds of ground beef.

When JBS Food Canada ULC shipped the beef over the border from its plant in Alberta, Canada, it somehow skirted the import reinspection process, so FSIS never verified that it met U.S. food safety standards. In other words, we don’t know if there’s anything wrong with it—and no reports of illness have been tied to it so far—but eating unapproved beef is simply not worth the risk.

The beef entered the country on July 13 as raw, frozen, boneless head meat products, and Balter Meat Company processed it into 80-pound boxes of ground beef. It was sent to holding locations in Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina before heading to retailers that may not be specific to those four states. According to a press release, FSIS will post the list of retailers on its website after it confirms them.

In the meantime, it’s up to consumers to toss any ground beef with labels that match those here [PDF]. Keep an eye out for lot codes 2020A and 2030A, establishment number 11126, and use-or-freeze-by dates August 9 and August 10.

[h/t Real Simple]