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Bone. 1996 Nov;19(5):519-26.

Body mass is the primary determinant of midfemoral bone acquisition during adolescent growth.

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Mechanical Engineering Department, Stanford University, CA, USA.


To study the determinants of bone mass and structure during adolescence, we analyzed the femoral mid-diaphysis of 375 healthy adolescents and young adults, ages 9-26 years, from four ethnic cohorts (African-American, Asian-American, Caucasian, and Hispanic). Whole-body dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) scans were used to determine diaphyseal length and mid-diaphyseal diameter of the left femur, as well as linear bone mineral content (BMCL) of a region at the mid-diaphysis. Cross-sectional geometric properties were estimated and used to calculate two structural strength indicators: the section modulus and the whole bone strength index. When the relationships between the bone measurements and age, pubertal group, height, or body mass were evaluated, all cross-sectional femoral measures correlated most strongly with body mass. Multiple regressions accounting for gender and ethnicity provided little additional predictive value over the simple regressions with body mass alone. Furthermore, accounting for all developmental parameters (age, pubertal group, body mass, lean body mass, calcium intake, physical activity level) as well as ethnicity and gender in a single saturated model also did not generally significantly improve the predictive results achieved using only body mass. Our results indicate that increases in midfemoral bone mass and cross-sectional properties during adolescence are primarily related to increases in mechanical loading as reflected by body mass.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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