Longitudinal relationships between whole body and central adiposity on weight-bearing bone geometry, density, and bone strength: A pQCT study in young girls

Deepika R. Laddu, Joshua N. Farr, Monica J. Laudermilk, Vinson R. Lee, Robert M. Blew, Craig Stump, Linda Houtkooper, Timothy G. Lohman, Scott B. Going

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Longitudinal relationships between adiposity (total body and central) and bone development were assessed in young girls. Total body and android fat masses were positively associated with bone strength and density parameters of the femur and tibia. These results suggest adiposity may have site-specific stimulating effects on the developing bone. Introduction: Childhood obesity may impair bone development, but the relationships between adiposity and bone remain unclear. Failure to account for fat pattern may explain the conflicting results. Purpose: Longitudinal associations of total body fat mass (TBFM) and android fat mass (AFM) with 2-year changes in weight-bearing bone parameters were examined in 260 girls aged 8-13 years at baseline. Peripheral quantitative computed tomography was used to measure bone strength index (BSI, square milligrams per quartic millimeter), strength-strain index (SSI, cubic millimeters), and volumetric bone mineral density (vBMD, milligrams per cubic centimeter) at distal metaphyseal and diaphyseal regions of the femur and tibia. TBFM and AFM were assessed by dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry. Results: Baseline TBFM and AFM were positively associated with the change in femur BSI (r = 0.20, r = 0.17, respectively) and femur trabecular vBMD (r = 0.19, r = 0.19, respectively). Similarly, positive associations were found between TBFM and change in tibia BSI and SSI (r = 0.16, r = 0.15, respectively), and femur total and trabecular vBMD (r = 0.12, r = 0.14, respectively). Analysis of covariance showed that girls in the middle thirds of AFM had significantly lower femur trabecular vBMD and significantly higher tibia cortical vBMD than girls in the highest thirds of AFM. All results were significant at p < 0.05. Conclusions: Whereas baseline levels of TBFM and AFM are positive predictors of bone strength and density at the femur and tibia, higher levels of AFM above a certain level may impair cortical vBMD growth at weight-bearing sites. Future studies in obese children will be needed to test this possibility. NIH/NICHD #HD-050775.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number156
JournalArchives of Osteoporosis
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Dec 2013


  • Bone development
  • Girls
  • Peripheral quantitative computed tomography (pQCT)
  • Regional adiposity
  • Volumetric bone mineral density (vBMD)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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