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Maturitas. 2001 Aug 25;39(2):133-45.

Body composition characteristics are associated with the bone density of the proximal femur end in middle- and old-aged women and men.

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  • 1Institute for Anthropology, University of Vienna, Althanstrasse 14, A-1090 Vienna, Austria.



In the present study the associations between bone density of the proximal femur end and weight status, fat distribution patterns (FDI) and body composition parameters i.e. amount of body fat and lean body mass were tested in a sample of old aged women and men.


In 77 healthy women ranging in age from 60 to 92 years (x=71.8 years) and 62 healthy men ranging in age from 60 to 86 years (x=71.5 years) the bone mineral density (BMD of the proximal femur end and the body composition parameters absolute fat mass, relative fat mass, lean body mass and bone mineral content were estimated by dual energy X-ray absorptiometry. Additionally, the weight status (body mass index, BMI) and the FDI were calculated. The bone density of the proximal femur end was correlated with the absolute fat mass and the lean body mass as well as with the BMI and the FDI.


BMD correlated in females significantly positively with parameters of body composition, in males no significant correlations between fat mass (absolute and relative) and BMD as well as BMD/stature was found. Furthermore, it was shown that the weight status (BMI; r(2)=0.13, P<0.0003 in males and r(2)=0.27, P<0.000 in females), and the lean body mass (r(2)=0.21, P<0.001 in males, r(2)=0.36, P<0.004 in females) were associated significantly positively with the BMD of the proximal femur end in both sexes. The absolute fat mass had a significant impact on BMD in the female subsample only (r(2)=0.24, P<0.000).


A lower weight status and a low amount of lean body mass, indicating not only lack of biomechanical forces of the proximal femur end, but also a lack of physical activity can be assumed to be associated increased bone loss and the development of osteoporosis in both sexes. An association between low amount of fat tissue and decreased BMD was especially found in women and may be due to the reduced conversion rates from androgens to estrogens in a low amount of fat tissue.

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