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Osteoporos Int. 2012 Apr;23(4):1453-61. doi: 10.1007/s00198-011-1737-4. Epub 2011 Aug 18.

Overweight in childhood and bone density and size in adulthood.

Author information

  • 1The UKK Institute for Health Promotion Research, P.O. Box 30, 33501 Tampere, Finland. kirsti.uusi-rasi@uta.fi

Abstract

We evaluated the adult bone structural traits in relation to childhood overweight in 832 men and women. Childhood overweight was associated with larger cross-sections at long bones in both sexes. Excess weight in childhood may also lead to higher trabecular density in females and somewhat lower cortical density in men.

INTRODUCTION:

Excess body weight in childhood may impose more loading on growing skeleton and thus lead to more robust structure in adulthood.

METHODS:

This prospective cohort study evaluated the adult bone structural traits in relation to childhood overweight in a subgroup of 456 women and 376 men from the population-based cohort of Cardiovascular Risks in Young Finns Study. Between-group differences were evaluated with analysis of covariance.

RESULTS:

According to established body mass index (BMI) criterion at the age of 12 years, 31 women and 34 men were classified overweight in childhood. At the mean age (SD) of 36.1 (2.7) years, total cross-sectional (ToA) and cortical area (CoA) at the distal and shaft sites and cortical (shaft CoD) and trabecular (distal TrD) bone density of the nonweight-bearing radius and weight-bearing tibia were evaluated with pQCT. Despite being taller in adolescence, the adult body height of overweight children was similar. In both sexes, childhood overweight was consistently associated with 5-10% larger ToA at all bone sites measured in adulthood. CoA did not show such a consistent pattern. Women, who were overweight in childhood, had ~5% denser TrD with no difference in CoD. In contrast, TrD in men who were overweight in childhood was not different but their CoD was ~1% lower.

CONCLUSIONS:

Childhood overweight was consistently associated with larger long bone cross-sections in both sexes. Excess weight in childhood may also lead to higher trabecular density in women and somewhat lower cortical density in men. Specific mechanisms underlying these associations are not known.

PMID:
21850549
DOI:
10.1007/s00198-011-1737-4
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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