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Osteoporos Int. 2008 Mar;19(3):277-87. Epub 2007 Nov 24.

Age trends in proximal femur geometry in men: variation by race and ethnicity.

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  • 1New England Research Institutes, 9 Galen Street, Watertown, MA 02472, USA.


Data on bone architecture in diverse male populations are limited. We examined proximal femur geometry in 1,190 black, Hispanic, and white men. Cross-sectional analyses indicate greatest bone strength among black men, and greater age-related differences in bone strength among Hispanic men than other subjects at the narrow neck and intertrochanter regions of the proximal femur.


Although race/ethnic differences in bone mass are well-documented, less is known about differences in bone architecture. We examined proximal femur geometry in a diverse, randomly-sampled population of 1,190 community-dwelling men (age 30-79 y).


Dual X-ray absorptiometry scans were obtained for 355 black, 394 Hispanic, and 441 white subjects. Measures were obtained for the narrow neck (NN), intertrochanter (IT) and shaft regions of the proximal femur via hip structural analysis. Analyses considered bone mineral density (BMD, g/cm2), outer diameter (cm), cross-sectional area (CSA, cm2), section modulus (Z, cm3), and buckling ratio (BR). Results were adjusted for height, weight and physical activity level.


Black subjects exhibited greater age-specific BMD, CSA and Z, than their white counterparts. For instance, at age 50 y, NN BMD was approximately 11% higher among black men (p < 0.001). Hispanic men exhibited sharper age-related differences in NN and IT BMD than did others. IT BMD, for instance, decreased by 2.4% with 10 y age among Hispanic subjects, but had virtually no age trend in others (p < 0.001).


These results imply greater bone strength among black American men than among their white counterparts, and may indicate elevated fracture risk among older Hispanic American subpopulations.

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