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Lean Mass and Body Fat Percentage Are Contradictory Predictors of Bone Mineral Density in Pre-Menopausal Pacific Island Women

Maria Casale, Pamela R. von Hurst, Kathryn L. Beck, Sarah Shultz, Marlena C. Kruger, Wendy O’Brien, Cathryn A. Conlon, Rozanne Kruger
Nutrients 2016 v.8 no.8 pp. -
adipose tissue, ascorbic acid, body fat, bone density, bone health, calcium, densitometry, dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry, food frequency questionnaires, food intake, muscle tissues, physical activity, premenopause, protein intake, regression analysis, variance, weight loss, women, Pacific Ocean Islands
Anecdotally, it is suggested that Pacific Island women have good bone mineral density (BMD) compared to other ethnicities; however, little evidence for this or for associated factors exists. This study aimed to explore associations between predictors of bone mineral density (BMD, g/cm2), in pre-menopausal Pacific Island women. Healthy pre-menopausal Pacific Island women (age 16–45 years) were recruited as part of the larger EXPLORE Study. Total body BMD and body composition were assessed using Dual X-ray Absorptiometry and air-displacement plethysmography (n = 83). A food frequency questionnaire (n = 56) and current bone-specific physical activity questionnaire (n = 59) were completed. Variables expected to be associated with BMD were applied to a hierarchical multiple regression analysis. Due to missing data, physical activity and dietary intake factors were considered only in simple correlations. Mean BMD was 1.1 ± 0.08 g/cm2. Bone-free, fat-free lean mass (LMO, 52.4 ± 6.9 kg) and age were positively associated with BMD, and percent body fat (38.4 ± 7.6) was inversely associated with BMD, explaining 37.7% of total variance. Lean mass was the strongest predictor of BMD, while many established contributors to bone health (calcium, physical activity, protein, and vitamin C) were not associated with BMD in this population, partly due to difficulty retrieving dietary data. This highlights the importance of physical activity and protein intake during any weight loss interventions to in order to minimise the loss of muscle mass, whilst maximizing loss of adipose tissue.