Osteoporosis in childhood: bone density of children in health and disease

J Pediatr Endocrinol Metab. Jul-Aug 2001;14(7):817-32. doi: 10.1515/jpem.2001.14.7.817.


Bone mineral density in later life largely depends on the peak bone mass achieved in adolescence or young adulthood. A reduced bone density is associated with increased fracture risk in adults as well as in children. Pediatricians should therefore play an important role in the early recognition and treatment of childhood osteoporosis. Juvenile idiopathic osteoporosis and osteogenesis imperfecta are examples of primary osteoporosis in childhood. However, osteoporosis is more frequently a complication of a chronic disease or its treatment. This paper provides an overview of bone and bone metabolism in healthy children and the use of diagnostic tools, such as biochemical markers of bone turnover and several bone densitometry techniques. Furthermore, a number of diseases associated with osteoporosis in childhood and possible treatment strategies are discussed.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Biomarkers
  • Bone Density / physiology*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Osteoporosis / diagnosis
  • Osteoporosis / metabolism
  • Osteoporosis / therapy*


  • Biomarkers