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Arch Dis Child. 2002 Oct;87(4):341-7; discussion 341-7.

Reference data for bone density and body composition measured with dual energy x ray absorptiometry in white children and young adults.

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  • 1Dept of Paediatrics, Subdivision of Endocrinology, Erasmus University Rotterdam, Rotterdam, Netherlands.



To obtain normative data on bone mineral density and body composition measured with dual energy x ray absorptiometry (DXA) from early childhood to young adulthood.


Cross sectional results from 444 healthy white volunteers (4-20 years) in the Netherlands were combined with the results from 198 children who agreed to participate in the follow up study approximately four years later. DXA (Lunar, DPXL) of lumbar spine and total body was performed to assess bone density and body composition.


Bone density and lean body mass (LBM) increased with age. Maximal increase in bone density and LBM occurred around the age of 13 years in girls and approximately two years later in boys. Bone density of total body and lumbar spine showed an ongoing slight increase in the third decade. Mean fat percentage in boys remained at 10.5% throughout childhood, but increased in girls.


Most of the skeletal mass in lumbar spine and total body is reached before the end of the second decade, with a slight increase thereafter. This study provides reference values for bone density and body composition measured with DXA for children and young adults.

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