Comparison of site-specific bone mass indices in south african children of different ethnic groups

L. K. Micklesfield, S. A. Norris, L. Van Der Merwe, E. V. Lambert, T. Beck, J. M. Pettifor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


This study reports on ethnic differences in bone mass before and after adjusting for differences in body size and bone area (BA). Lumbar spine (LSBMC), proximal femur (PFBMC) and femoral neck (FNBMC) bone mineral contents were measured in black ('black'; n = 263) and white ('white'; n = 73) children from Johannesburg and children of mixed ancestral origin ('mixed'; n = 64) from Cape Town, South Africa. Geometric estimates and the power coefficient from the regression analyses of BMC on BA were calculated. After adjusting for age, weight, and height, LSBMC in girls and FNBMC in girls and boys were greatest in mixed, followed by black and then white, groups. Mixed boys and girls also had greater PFBMC than their black and white peers, but only in the boys was PFBMC greater in the black than the white groups. When including BA in the adjustment, differences remained at the FN in boys and girls, and the LS and PF in girls, but disappeared at the PF in mixed and black boys. The difference in LSBMC between mixed and black boys became significant after adjustment for age, weight, height, and BA. Geometric estimates at the femoral neck were greater in the mixed group. Power coefficients were greater in the white group, suggesting differences in shape or bone distribution. In conclusion, this study suggests that, in addition to differences in BMC, differences in bone strength and geometry are present which might confer advantages to the bone of mixed-ancestry children.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)317-325
Number of pages9
JournalCalcified Tissue International
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Bone mass
  • Bone strength
  • Children
  • Dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry
  • Ethnicity
  • South Africa

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Endocrinology


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