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Clin Endocrinol (Oxf). 1992 Nov;37(5):426-31.

Body composition and bone mass in post-menopausal women.

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Department of Medicine, University of Cambridge Clinical School, UK.



We aimed to assess total body composition and to study the interrelationships between fat and lean tissue mass with total and regional bone mass in healthy British post-menopausal women.


Total body composition and regional bone mass were measured in 97 healthy post-menopausal women recruited from the general community. The mean age was 57.9 years, range 49-65.


Total body composition (fat, lean tissue and bone mineral) and regional bone density in the lumbar spine and femur were measured by dual energy X-ray absorptiometry on a Lunar DPX.


Significant negative correlations with age were found for total body bone mineral density (r = -0.200, P = 0.049), and lumbar spine bone mineral density (r = -0.28, P = 0.006); the calculated rate of bone loss from these two sites was 0.33 and 0.7% per annum respectively. Fat tissue mass showed a positive correlation with age (r = 0.22, P = 0.03). High correlations were observed between total body and regional bone mineral density (r = 0.755-0.829, P < 0.001). After adjustment for age and lean mass, statistically significant correlations were seen between fat tissue mass and all bone mass measurements (P < 0.01-0.001), the strongest correlations being found for total body bone mineral content and density (r = 0.477 and 0.488 respectively). Lean tissue mass showed a strong correlation with total body bone mineral content (r = 0.580, P < 0.001), after adjustment for age and fat mass; it was less strongly correlated with other bone mass measurements than fat mass, showing only weak correlations with total body, trochanteric and lumbar spine bone mineral density (r = 0.228-0.246, P < 0.05). Age-adjusted body weight showed stronger correlations with total and regional bone mass than did either body mass index or height.


Both fat and lean tissue mass are related to total and regional bone mass in post-menopausal women, the relationship being strongest for fat mass. Body weight shows stronger correlations with bone mass than either height or body mass index. In view of the direction and magnitude of changes in fat, lean tissue and bone mineral after the menopause, adiposity and muscularity are more likely to be determinants of peak bone mass than of the rate of post-menopausal bone loss.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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