Men’s big pot bellies are a known risk factor for heart disease, but a new study suggests that this extra tissue is also bad for bones. The belly fat at issue is the “visceral” fat found deep in the abdomen and considered particularly dangerous for heart health. Investigators at Harvard Medical School evaluated 35 obese men, average age 34, using structural analysis tests to assess their bone strength and predict the risk of future fractures. They reported that men with the biggest bellies and highest amount of visceral fat had lower scores in measurements of bone strength than men with less visceral fat and smaller bellies. The research team used “finite element analysis” (FEA) to come to this conclusion - an engineering method used to assess the strength of materials to determine where a structure can bend or fail and determine the force necessary cause a break. The study was presented November 28, 2012 at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America.