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Determinants of axial and peripheral bone mass in Chinese adolescents


OBJECTIVE To determine the relation of puberty, physical activity, physical fitness, and calcium intake with bone mineral content (BMC) of the distal radius, and on bone mineral density (BMD) of the L2 to L4 vertebrae in a group of healthy Chinese adolescents.

DESIGN Cross sectional survey.

SUBJECTS A group of 179 healthy Chinese adolescents (92 boys and 87 girls) aged 12 to 13 years enrolled in the first year of the Tii Junior High School in Shatin, Hong Kong. Ninety four of the pupils enrolled were in the physical education major class (PE), and the other 85 were in the art major class (ARTS).

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES Correlation of BMC of the distal radius and BMD of the L2 to L4 vertebrae with level of physical activity, physical fitness (isometric and isokinetic), muscle strength of the upper and lower limb, and calcium intake.

RESULTS BMC of the distal radius and BMD of the L2 to L4 vertebrae were significantly positively correlated. Univariate and regression analysis showed that age, pubertal staging, physical fitness, and muscle strength were significantly associated with bone mass in a positive way. Calcium intake and type of sport practised did not exert a significant influence on BMC of the distal radius and BMD of the L2 to L4 vertebrae in boys. The results for the BMD of the L2 to L4 vertebrae were similar in girls and boys; however, in girls, the BMC of the distal radius had a negative correlation with calcium intake. Physical fitness was a significant positive predictor of BMD of the L2 to L4 vertebrae.

CONCLUSIONS Among Chinese adolescents bone mass was positively influenced by certain measures of physical fitness as well as by age, weight, and pubertal stage.

  • physical activity
  • muscle strength
  • bone mass

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