Differences in Peak Bone Density Between Male and Female Students

Selma Avdagić 1 , Irena Barić 2 , Irena Keser 2 , Ivana Cecić 2 , Zvonimir Šatalić 2 , Jasminka Bobić 1 ,  and Milica Gomzi 1
  • 1 Institute for Medical Research and Occupational Health, Zagreb, Croatia
  • 2 Laboratory for Food Chemistry and Nutrition, Faculty of Food Technology and Biotechnology, University of Zagreb, Zagreb, Croatia

Differences in Peak Bone Density Between Male and Female Students

As an important determinant of osteoporotic fracture risk, peak bone density tends to be higher in men than in women. The aim of this study was to see whether young men and women differed in the time and skeletal region of peak bone density. We also investigated the influence of diet and physical activity on bone mass. The study group included 51 male and 75 female students aged 19 to 25 years. Bone mineral density was measured for the spine, total femur, and the distal third of the radius using dual energy x-ray absorptiometry. Dietary data were obtained using a specially designed semiquantitative food frequency questionnaire. Bone mineral density (BMD; g cm-2) was higher in boys than in girls at all measured sites, while bone mineral apparent density (BMAD; g cm-3) was higher in girls. Age negatively correlated with bone mineral density in all measured sites except in the boys' spine. Sodium, protein, and fibres were nutrients that significantly correlated with bone mineral density. The study suggests that boys achieve peak bone density later than girls, and that this delay is the most prominent in the spine. In our study group, this difference could not be explained by different nutrition or the level of physical activity.

If the inline PDF is not rendering correctly, you can download the PDF file here.

  • McGuigan FEA, Murray L, Gallagher A, Davey-Smith G, Neville CE, Van't Hof R, Boreham C, Ralston SH. Genetic and Environmental Determinants of Peak Bone Mass in Young Men and Women. J Bone Mineral Res 2002;17:1273-9.

  • Kelly PJ, Eisman JA, Sambrook PN. Interaction of genetic and environmental influences on peak bone density. Osteoporos Int 1990;1:56-60.

  • Krall EA, Dawson-Hughes B. Heritable and life-style determinants of bone mineral density. J Bone Mineral Res 1993;8:1-9.

  • Sinaki M, Wahner HW, Bergstralh EJ, Hodgson SF, Offord KP, Squires RW, Swee RG. Three-year controlled, randomized trial of the effect of dose-specified loading and strengthening exercises on BMD of spine and femur in nonathletic, physically active women. Bone 1996;19:233-44.

  • Slemenda C W, Miller JZ, Hui SL, Reister TK, Johnston CC Jr. Role of physical activity in the development of skeletal mass in children. J Bone Mineral Res 1991;6:1227-33.

  • Neville CE, Murray LJ, Boreham CAG, Gallagher AM, Twisk J, Robson PJ, Savage JM, Kemper HCG, Ralston SH, Smith GD. Relationship between physical activity and bone mineral status in young adults: the Northern Ireland Young Hearts Project. Bone 2002;30:792-8.

  • Matkovic V, Goel PK, Badenhop-Stevens NE, Landoll JD, Li B, Ilich JZ, Skugor M, Nagode LA, Mobley SL, Ha EJ, Hangartner TN, Clairmont A. Calcium supplementation and bone mineral density in females from childhood to young adulthood: a randomized controlled trial. Am J Clin Nutr 2005;81:175-88.

  • Wallace LS, Ballard JE. Lifetime physical activity and calcium intake related to bone density in young women. J Women Health Gend Based Med 2002;11:389-98.

  • Bonjour JP, Carrie AL, Ferrari S, Clavien H, Slosman D, Theintz G, Rizzoli R. Calcium enriched foods and bone mass growth in prepubertal girls: a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. J Clin Invest 1997;99:1287-94.

  • McCulloch RG, Bailey DA, Houston CS, Dodd BL. Effects of physical activity, dietary calcium intake and selected lifestyle factors on bone density in young women. Can Med Assoc J 1990;142:221-7.

  • Cvijetić S, Colić Barić I, Bolanča S, Jureša V, Dekanić Ožegović D. Ultrasound bone measurement in children and adolescents; correlation with nutrition, puberty, anthropometry and physical activity. J Clin Epidemiol 2003;56:591-7.

  • Theintz G, Buchs B, Rizzoli R, Slosman D, Clavien H, Sizonenko PC, Bonjour JP. Longitudinal monitoring of bone mass accumulation in healthy adolescents: evidence for a marked reduction after 16 years of age at the levels of lumbar spine and femoral neck in female subjects. J Clin Endocrinol Metab 1992;75:1060-5.

  • Matkovic V, Jelic T, Wardlaw GM, Ilich JZ, Goel PK, Wright JK, Andon MB, Smith KT, Heaney RP. Timing of peak bone mass in Caucasian females and its implication for the prevention of osteoporosis. J Clin Invest 1994;93:799-808.

  • Recker RR, Davies KM, Hinders SM, Heaney RP, Stegman MR, Kimmel DB. Bone gain in young adult women. J Am Med Assoc 1992;268:2403-8.

  • Henry YM, Fatayerji D, Eastell R. Attainment of peak bone mass at the lumbar spine, femoral neck and radius in men and women: relative contributions of bone size and volumetric bone mineral density. Osteopor Int 2004;15:263-73.

  • Lin YC, Lyle RM, Weaver CM, McCabe LD, McCabe GP, Johnston CC, Teegarden D. Peak spine and femoral neck bone mass in young women. Bone 2003;32:546-53.

  • Katzman DK, Bachrach LK, Carter DR, Marcus R. Clinical and anthropometric correlates of bone mineral acquisition in healthy adolescent girls. J Clin Endocrinol Metab 1991;73:1332-9.

  • Hess MA. Portion Photos of Popular Foods. Chicago (IL): American Dietetic Association; 1997.

  • U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service: USDA Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Release 15, 2002. [displayed 23 September 200] Available at http://www.nal.usda.gov/fnic/foodcomp/Data/SR15/sr15.html

  • Ministarstvo zdravstva i socijalne skrbi Republike Hrvatske. Pravilnik o hrani za posebne prehrambene potrebe [Regulation of special nutrition requirements, in Croatian]. Narodne novine 2004/81.

  • Ministarstvo zdravstva i socijalne skrbi Republike Hrvatske. Pravilnik o zdravstvenoj ispravnosti dijetetskih namirnica [Regulation of the health accuracy of food, in Croatian]. Narodne novine 1994/21.

  • U.S. National Research Council and Committee on Dietary Allowances. Recommended Dietary Allowances. Washington (DC): National Academy Press; 1989.

  • Food and Nutrition Board, Institute of Medicine. Dietary Reference Intakes for Energy, Carbohydrate, Fiber, Fat, Fatty Acids, Cholesterol, Protein, and Amino Acids. Washington (DC): National Academy Press; 2002.

  • Walsh JS, Henry YM, Fatayerji D, Eastell R. Lumbar spine peak bone mass and bone turnover in men and women: a longitudinal study. Osteopor Int 2009; 20:355-62.

  • Lu PW, Briody JN, Ogle GD, Morley K, Humphries IRJ, Allen J, Howmangiles R, Sillence D, Cowell CT. Bone mineral density of total body, spine, and femoral neck in children and young adults: a cross-sectional and longitudinal study. J Bone Mineral Res 1994;9:1451-8.

  • Cvijetic S, Colic Baric I, Keser I, Cecic I, Satalic Z, Blanusa M. Peak bone density in Croatian women: Variations at different skeletal sites. J Clin Densitom 2008;27:260-5.

  • Lunt M, Felsenberg D, Adams J, Benevolenskaya L, Cannata J, Dequeker J, Dodenhof C, Falch JA, Johnell O, Khaw KT, Masaryk P, Pols H, Poor G, Reid D, Scheidtnave C, Weber K, Silman AJ, Reeve J. Population-based geographic variations in DXA bone density in Europe: the EVOS study. Osteopor Int 1997;7:175-89.

  • El-hajj Fuleihan G, Baddoura R, Awada H, Salam N, Salamoun M, Rizk P. Low peak bone mineral density in healthy Lebanese subjects. Bone 2002;31:520-8.

  • Henry YM, Fatayerji D, Eastell R. Attainment of peak bone mass at the lumbar spine, femoral neck and radius in men and women: relative contributions of bone size and volumetric bone mineral density. Osteopor Int 2004;15:263-73.

  • Fischer S, Milinarsky A, Giadrosich V, Casanova D. Effects of calcium supplementation on bone density in girls. Revista Med Chile 1999;127:23-7.

  • Matkovic V, Kostial K, Simonovic I, Buzina R, Brodarec A, Nordin BE. Bone status and fracture rates in two regions of Yugoslavia. Am J Clin Nutr 1979;32:540-9.

  • Ilich JZ, Skugor M, Hangartner T, Baoshe A, Matkovic V. Relation of nutrition, body composition and physical activity to skeletal development: a cross-sectional study in preadolescent females. J Am Coll Nutr 1998;17:136-47.

  • Sandler RB, Slemenda CW, LaPorte RE, Cauley JA, Schramm MM, Barresi ML, Kriska AM. Postmenopausal bone density and milk consumption in childhood and adolescence. Am J Clin Nutr 1985;42:270-4.

  • Heaney RP, Weaver CM, Fitzsimmons ML. Soybean phytate content: effect on calcium absorption. Am J Clin Nutr 1991;53:745-7.

  • Barbosa JC, Shultz TD, Filley SJ, Nieman DC. The relationship among adiposity, diet, and hormone concentrations in vegetarian and nonvegetarian postmenopausal women. Am J Clin Nutr 1990;51:798-803.

  • New SA, Bolton-Smith C, Grubb DA, Reid DM. Nutritional influences on bone mineral density: a cross-sectional study in premenopausal women. Am J Clin Nutr 1997;65:1831-9.

  • Yano K, Heilbrun LK, Wasnich RD, Hankin JH, Vogel JM. The relationship between diet and bone mineral content of multiple skeletal sites in elderly Japanese-American men and women living in Hawaii. Am J Clin Nutr 1985;42:877-888.

  • Carbone LD, Bush AJ, Barrow KD, Kang AH. The relationship of sodium intake to calcium and sodium excretion and bone mineral density of the hip in postmenopausal African-American and Caucasian women. J Bone Min Metabol 2006;21:415-20.

  • Cirillo M, Ciacci C, Laurenzi M, Mellone M, Mazzacca G, De Santo NG. Salt intake, urinary sodium, and hypercalciuria. Min Electrolyte Metabol 1997;23:265-8.

  • Ho SC, Chen YM, Woo JLF, Leung SSF, Lam TH, Janus ED. Sodium is the leading dietary factor associated with urinary calcium excretion in Hong Kong Chinese adults. Osteopor Int 2001;12:723-31.

  • Barzel US, Massey LK. Excess dietary protein can adversely affect bone. J Nutr 1998;128:1051-3.

  • Kerstetter JE, Mitnick ME, Gundberg CM, Caseria DM, Ellison AF, Carpenter TO, Insogna KL. Changes in bone turnover in young women consuming different levels of dietary protein. J Clin Endocrinol Metab 1999;84:1052-5.

  • Kerstetter JE, Looker AC, Insogna KL. Low dietary protein and low bone density. Calcif Tissue Int 2000;66:313.

  • Geinoz G, Rapin CH, Rizzoli R, Kraemer R, Buchs B, Slosman D, Michel JP, Bonjour JP. Relationship between bone mineral density and dietary intakes in the elderly. Osteoporos Int 1993;3:242-8.

  • Bass S, Delmas P, Pearce G, Hendrich E, Tabensky A, Seeman E. The differing tempo of growth in bone size, mass and density in girls is region-specific. J Clin Invest 1999;104:795-804.

  • Bradney M, Karlsson MK, Duan Y, Stuckey S, Bass S, Seeman E. Heterogeneity in the growth of the axial and appendicular skeleton in boys: implications for the pathogenesis of bone fragility in men. J Bone Miner Res 2000;15:1871-8.


Journal + Issues

All articles are published under the CC-BY licence.