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Osteoporos Int. 2011 Dec;22(12):3029-35. doi: 10.1007/s00198-010-1522-9. Epub 2011 Jan 18.

Relationships of percent body fat and percent trunk fat with bone mineral density among Chinese, black, and white subjects.

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  • 1Obesity and Body Composition Research Center, Zhejiang University School of Public Health, 388 Yu-hang-tang Road, Hangzhou, Zhejiang, 310058, China.


We examined ethnic difference in the association of body fat and trunk fat with bone mineral density (BMD) among Chinese, white, and black subjects. We found that, with greater body and trunk fat, both white and black subjects were more likely to have a low BMD than Chinese subjects.


Ethnic differences in body fat, abdominal fat distribution, and BMD have been found in previous studies between Chinese and white subjects. However, the associations of body fat and abdominal fat distribution with BMD have not been studied, and whether the ethnic differences have an effect on these associations is unclear.


We evaluated 1,147 subjects aged ≥ 18 years (805 Chinese, 193 whites, and 149 blacks). Percent body fat (%BF), percent trunk fat (%TF), and total and regional BMD including that of head, arm, leg, trunk, rib, spine, and pelvis were measured by dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry. Linear regression models were developed to test the association of ethnicity, %BF, and interaction between ethnicity and %BF with BMD. The models were repeated again, replacing %BF with %TF.


Chinese subjects showed lower BMD in total and most regions compared with black and white subjects; however, these differences were eliminated between Chinese and whites within both sexes and between Chinese and black men when age, weight, height, and %BF were added. %BF and %TF were negatively associated with most regional body BMD. The interactions between %BF, %TF, and ethnicity were found in most regional body BMD among Chinese, white, and black subjects for both men and women.


Both %BF and %TF have negative associations with BMD. With greater accumulation of %BF and %TF, both white and black subjects may experience a higher risk of low BMD than Chinese subjects.

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