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Bone density in children: what are we measuring?
  1. Nick Shaw1,2,
  2. Nicola Crabtree1,2
  1. 1 Institute of Metabolism and Systems Research, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, UK
  2. 2 Department of Endocrinology & Diabetes, Birmingham Children’s Hospital, Birmingham, West Midlands, UK
  1. Correspondence to Professor Nick Shaw, Department of Endocrinology and Diabetes, Birmingham Women’s and Children’s NHS Foundation Trust, Birmingham B4 6NH, UK;{at}


The measurement of bone density is a frequent request in the assessment of children with concerns about bone health due to chronic disease or recurrent fractures. Dual energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) remains the recommended modality and is widely available. However, the interpretation and reporting of results in growing individuals needs to be undertaken by individuals who are familiar with scanning children and the potential pitfalls.

  • bone disease
  • endocrinology

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  • Contributors NJS and NJC contributed equally to the writing of this article.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.