Bone density and bone area in Canadian Aboriginal women: the First Nations Bone Health Study


Canadian Aboriginal women are at increased risk of fracture compared with the general population. There is disproportionately reduced bone density in Aboriginal women as compared to white females of similar age. A random age-stratified (25–39, 40–59 and 60–75) sample of Aboriginal women (n=258) and white women (n=181) was recruited. All subjects had calcaneus and distal forearm bone density measurements, and urban participants (n=397 [90.4%]) also had measurements of the lumbar spine, hip and total body. Unadjusted measurements were similar in the two groups apart from the distal forearm which showed a significantly lower mean Z-score in the Aboriginal women (p=0.03). Aboriginal women were heavier than white women (81.0±18.0 kg vs. 76.0±18.0 kg, p=0.02). Weight was directly associated with BMD at all measurement sites (p<0.00001) and potentially confounded the assessment of ethnicity on bone mass measurements. Weight-adjusted ANCOVA models demonstrated significantly lower bone density in Aboriginal than white women for the calcaneus, distal forearm, and total body (all p<0.05), but not at the other sites. ANCOVA models (adjusted for age, height and weight) were used to explore differences in bone area and bone mineral content (BMC). There was a significant effect of ethnicity on bone area with Aboriginal women having larger adjusted mean values than white women (lumbar spine p=0.038, total hip p=0.0004, total body p=0.020). In contrast, there was no detectable effect of ethnicity on BMC (all p>0.2). We identified significant site-specific differences in age-and weight-adjusted bone density for Aboriginal and white women. Larger bone area, rather than a reduction in BMC, appeared to be primarily responsible. Further work is needed to define how these differences in bone density and geometry affect indices of bone strength.

DOI: 10.1007/s00198-006-0184-0

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@article{Leslie2006BoneDA, title={Bone density and bone area in Canadian Aboriginal women: the First Nations Bone Health Study}, author={William D Leslie and Colleen J. Metge and Hope Alberta Weiler and Malcom Doupe and Pauline Wood Steiman and John D. O’Neil}, journal={Osteoporosis International}, year={2006}, volume={17}, pages={1755-1762} }