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Calcif Tissue Int. 2004 Jul;75(1):32-9.

Body weight change since menopause and percentage body fat mass are predictors of subsequent bone mineral density change of the proximal femur in women aged 75 years and older: results of a 5 year prospective study.

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Department of Internal Medicine and Geriatrics, Montpellier University Hospital, 34295 Montpellier Cedex 5, France.


Few studies have evaluated risk factors for bone loss in elderly women. We examined risk factors associated with a 5-year longitudinal change in bone mineral density (BMD) at the hip in healthy women aged 75 years and older. The BMD of 276 women from the French EPIDOS (Epidémiologie des Osteoporoses) study was assessed in Montpellier from 1992 to 1993 and again from 1997 to 1998. BMD was measured at the femoral neck, trochanter, and Ward's area using the same Lunar densitometer. We examined the relationship between clinical and behavioral factors at baseline and their variations during follow-up, with percentage BMD change adjusted for baseline BMD. Depending on the femur subregion studied, a significant decrease in BMD (exceeding the least significant difference, i.e., > 2.8 CV) was observed in 36.2% to 51.1% of women. Multivariate analysis showed that both postmenopausal weight change before baseline and baseline percentage of fat mass were positively correlated with BMD change at the Ward's triangle and the trochanter. Yearly absolute and relative weight changes over the follow-up period were significantly associated with change of trochanter and femoral neck BMD. Our results show that maintenance of body weight throughout the postmenopause period and body fat mass play protective roles against bone loss at the proximal femur in women aged 75 years and older and suggest the value in including assessment of weight change throughout postmenopause and percentage body fat mass in screening programs for elderly women who are at higher risk of accelerated bone loss.

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