Background: Body mass index (BMI) and bone mineral density (BMD) are positively correlated in several studies, but few data relate bone density, lipid profile and anthropometric measures.
Aim: To investigate these relationships in a large, well-characterized cohort of men and women (The Hertfordshire Cohort Study).
Methods: Men (n = 465) and women (n = 448) from Hertfordshire, UK were recruited. Information was available on demographic and lifestyle factors, anthropometric measurements, body fat percentage, fasting triglycerides, cholesterol (total, HDL, LDL), apolipoprotein (a) and apolipoprotein (b); bone mineral density (BMD) was recorded at the lumbar spine and total femur.
Results: BMD at the lumbar spine (males r = 0.15, p = 0.001; females r = 0.14, p = 0.003) and total femoral region (males r = 0.18, p = 0.0001; females r = 0.16, p = 0.0008) was related to serum triglyceride level, even after adjustment for waist-hip ratio, age, social class and lifestyle factors, but not if body fat percentage was substituted for waist-hip ratio in the regression model. Fasting HDL cholesterol level was related to lumbar spine BMD in women (r = -0.15, p = 0.001) and total femoral BMD in both sexes (males r = -0.15, p = 0.002; females r = -0.23, p < 0.0001); these relationships were also attenuated by adjustment for body fat percentage but not waist-hip ratio. No relationships were seen between total or LDL cholesterol with BMD.
Discussion: In this cohort, relationships between lipid profile and BMD were robust to adjustment for one measure of central obesity (waist-hip ratio), but not total body fat. This broadly supports the idea that adiposity may confound the relationship between lipids and bone mass.