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Bone. 2008 May;42(5):990-5. doi: 10.1016/j.bone.2008.01.018. Epub 2008 Feb 13.

Body composition and bone density in Canadian White and Aboriginal women: the First Nations Bone Health Study.

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  • 1University of Manitoba, Department of Medicine, Canada.


Ethnic variation in soft tissue composition may contribute to observed ethnic differences in bone mineral density (BMD). This analysis was performed to determine whether ethnic differences in body composition affect differences in BMD between Canadian White and Aboriginal women. An age-stratified population-based sample of 206 Aboriginal women and 177 White women underwent multisite bone density measurements and total body soft tissue composition analysis. In univariate analyses, each kg of additional lean mass was associated with a greater increase in BMD than an equal amount of fat mass (p<.01). When models simultaneously evaluated both soft tissue measurements, lean mass (but not fat mass) was positively correlated with BMD at all measurement sites (p<.001). Aboriginal women had significantly lower weight-adjusted BMD than White women for two sites (calcaneus, p = .019; total body, p = .026) and lower BMI-adjusted for BMD three sites (calcaneus, p = .0076; distal forearm, p = .047; total body, p = .022). The ratio of lean mass to fat mass was lower in Aboriginal than White women (p<.001). When BMD was adjusted for body composition variables no significant difference was seen between Aboriginal and White women. Apparent ethnic differences in weight- and BMI-adjusted BMD between Canadian White and Aboriginal women were explained by a lower ratio of lean mass to fat mass in Aboriginal women, combined with a smaller increment in BMD from fat mass versus lean mass in both populations.

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