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J Bone Miner Res. 2003 Dec;18(12):2238-44.

Racial differences in bone mineral density in older men.

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  • 1Division of Rheumatology and Clinical Immunology, Department of Medicine, University of Maryland School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland, USA.


Studies have examined factors related to BMD in older white, but not black, men. We measured BMD in older white and black men and examined factors related to racial differences in BMD. Black men had significantly higher adjusted BMD at all sites. These results may explain, in part, the lower incidence of fractures in older black men.


Several studies have examined factors associated with bone mineral density (BMD)in older men. None, however, have had sufficient numbers of black men to allow for meaningful comparisons by race.


A total of 503 white and 191 black men aged 65 and older(75.1 +/- 5.8 and 72.2 +/- 5.7 years, respectively) were recruited from the Baltimore metropolitan area. All men completed a battery of self-administered questionnaires, underwent a standardized examination, and had BMD measured at the femoral neck, lumbar spine, and total body. Data were analyzed using multiple variable linear regression models, adjusted for potential confounding variables; two-way interactions with main effects were included in models where appropriate.


Black men had significantly higher adjusted BMD at the femoral neck (difference 0.09 [95% CI: 0.07, 0.12] mg/cm2), lumbar spine (0.07 [0.04, 0.10] mg/cm2), and total body (0.06 [0.03, 0.08] mg/cm2) than white men.


Older black men have significantly higher BMD than older white men, even after adjustment for factors associated with BMD. These differences, especially at the femoral neck, may explain the reduced incidence of hip fracture in black compared with white men.

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