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Osteoporos Int. 2008 Feb;19(2):227-34. Epub 2007 Sep 14.

Correlates of bone mineral density in men of African ancestry: the Tobago bone health study.

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Department of Epidemiology, Graduate School of Public Health, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA, USA.


Correlates of BMD were examined in a cross-sectional analysis of men of West African ancestry. BMD, measured at the total hip and the femoral neck subregion, was associated with age, anthropometric, lifestyle, and medical factors in multiple linear regression models. These models explained 25-27% of the variability in total hip and femoral neck BMD, respectively, and 13% of the variability in estimated volumetric BMD.


To examine the correlates of bone mineral density (BMD) in men of West African ancestry.


Two thousand five hundred and one men aged 40 to 93 years were recruited from the Caribbean Island of Tobago. Participants completed a questionnaire and physical examination. We measured hip BMD and body composition, using DXA. Volumetric BMD was estimated as bone mineral apparent density (BMAD).


BMD was 10% and 20% higher in African Caribbean males compared to U.S. non-Hispanic black and white males, respectively. In multiple linear regression models, greater lean mass, history of working on a fishing boat or on a farm, frequent walking, and self-reported diabetes were significantly associated with higher BMD. Fat mass, history of farming, and self-reported hypertension were also associated with higher BMAD. Older age, mixed African ancestry, and history of a fracture were associated with lower BMD and BMAD. Lean body mass explained 20%, 18% and 6% of the variance in BMD at the total hip, femoral neck and BMAD, respectively.


African Caribbean males have the highest BMD on a population level ever reported. Lean mass was the single most important correlate. Variability in BMD/BMAD was also explained by age, mixed African ancestry, anthropometric, lifestyle, and medical factors.

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