5 years ago

The relationship between adiposity and bone density in U.S. children and adolescents

Benjamin H. Singer, Joyce M. Lee, Kanakadurga Singer, Achamyeleh Gebremariam, Cecilia Gállego Suárez

by Cecilia Gállego Suárez, Benjamin H. Singer, Achamyeleh Gebremariam, Joyce M. Lee, Kanakadurga Singer


In adults, obesity has been associated with several health outcomes including increased bone density. Our objective was to evaluate the association between percent body fat and fat mass with bone mineral density (BMD) in a nationally representative population of children and adolescents.

Study design

A total of 8,348 participants 8–18 years of age from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) 1999–2006 had whole body DXA scans performed. We conducted linear regressions to examine the relationship between percent body fat and fat mass with outcome variables of total body, pelvic and lumbar spine areal BMD (aBMD), controlling for lean body mass and assessing for gender and race/ethnicity interactions.


We found evidence of gender and race/ethnicity interactions with percent body fat and total fat mass for the different BMD areas. Generally, there were decreases in total body aBMD (p<0.001) and lumbar spine aBMD (p<0.001) with increasing percent body fat and total fat mass, with less consistent patterns for pelvic aBMD.


Our findings of regional differences in the relationship of adiposity to aBMD in children and adolescents with significant interactions by gender and race/ethnicity emphasizes the need for further investigations to understand the impact of adiposity on bone health outcomes.

Publisher URL: http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article

DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0181587

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