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J Womens Health Gend Based Med. 2000 Oct;9(8):865-72.

Body composition predicts bone mineral density and balance in premenopausal women.

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Department of Exercise and Sport Science, Oregon State University, Corvallis 97331, USA.


Low bone mineral density (BMD) and poor stability both contribute to increased risk of fractures associated with a fall. Our aim in this cross-sectional study was to determine the anthropometric and/or performance variables that best predicted BMD and stability in women. BMD, body composition, muscle strength, muscle power, and dynamic stability were evaluated in 61 women (age 40 +/- 4 years; % body fat 27% +/- 5%). In correlation analyses, BMD at all sites was significantly related to height, lean mass, strength, and leg power (r2 = 0.25-0.49). Significant inverse relationships were found between all independent variables and dynamic stability (r2 = 0.23-0.52). In stepwise regression, lean mass independently predicted BMD at the femoral neck (R2 = 0.20), total hip (R2 = 0.24), and whole body (R2 = 0.17), whereas hip abductor torque predicted 23% of the variance in trochanter BMD and added 6% to the variance in total hip BMD. Leg power was the only predictor of spine BMD (R2 = 0.14). Fat and lean mass both independently predicted poor performance on postural stability, with fat mass contributing 31% of the total variance (R2 = 0.38). In conclusion, we found lean mass to be a robust predictor of BMD in premenopausal women. Furthermore, both hip abductor torque and leg power independently predicted BMD at clinically relevant fracture sites (hip and spine). The finding that higher fat mass contributes to the majority of the variance in poor stability indicates that greater fat mass may compromise stability and, thus, increase fall risk in heavier individuals.

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