Adipose tissue and volumetric bone mineral density of older Afro-Caribbean men Academic Article uri icon

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  • Although low body weight is a risk factor for osteoporosis-related fractures, conflicting data exist for the association between adiposity and bone mineral density (BMD). Studies examining these relationships have measured body fat and BMD with dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA), which cannot distinguish subcutaneous adipose tissue area (SAT) from total adiposity or trabecular from cortical bone. To investigate the relationship between adiposity and BMD further, we analyzed body composition and adipose tissue distribution by quantitative computed tomography (QCT) in 1829 Afro-Caribbean men aged 40 years and older from a population-based sample. Cortical volumetric BMD, muscle cross-sectional area, total adipose tissue area (TAT), and percentage SAT were measured at the proximal tibia. Trabecular volumetric BMD was measured at the distal tibia. We used analysis of covariance to test for associations between quartile of the adipose tissue measures and BMD, adjusting for anthropometric, health, and lifestyle factors. Higher TAT was associated with lower cortical BMD in both unadjusted and adjusted models (p < .001). Men with a higher percentage SAT had greater cortical BMD (p < .001). Similar associations were seen between percent SAT and trabecular BMD at the distal tibia. These results indicate that total adiposity is a potentially important correlate of bone mass in older men and that different fat depots may have opposing associations with bone mass. Additional research is needed to better understand the mechanisms underlying the relationship between body fat distribution and bone mass.


  • Yerges-Armstrong, Laura M
  • Miljkovic, Iva
  • Cauley, Jane A
  • Sheu, YahTyng
  • Gordon, Christopher
  • Wheeler, Victor W
  • Bunker, Clareann H
  • Patrick, Alan L
  • Zmuda, Joseph M

publication date

  • October 2010