Differences in age-related bone mass of proximal femur between Chinese women and different ethnic women in the United States

J Bone Miner Metab. 2007;25(4):243-52. doi: 10.1007/s00774-007-0756-x. Epub 2007 Jun 25.


Substantial racial differences in bone mass and bone loss rate have been reported, but the extent of the difference between native Chinese women and women of different races in the United States is not clear. We used a DXA bone densitometer to measure bone mineral density (BMD), bone mineral content (BMC), bone area (BA), and volumetric BMD (vBMD) in different regions of the proximal femur in 3614 Chinese women aged 20 years and older. Regression models were chosen to best fit the changes of these parameters with increasing age. The values in their fitted curves were determined by the Cartesian coordinate numeration system. Subsequently, we compared these fitted curves to full-matched data of non-Hispanic black, non-Hispanic white, and Mexican American women reported by the third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES III). We found that all fitted curves of bone mass of non-Hispanic black women were significantly higher than those of Chinese, non-Hispanic white, and Mexican American women (P = 0.000). The BMD and BMC fitted curves in various regions of the hip for non-Hispanic blacks were 22%-28% and 26%-43% higher than those for Chinese women, 8.3%-13% and 7.9%-9.5% higher than those for non-Hispanic whites, and 8.8%-10% and 13%-19% higher than those for Mexican Americans, respectively. However, when the expression of difference was transformed from BMD to vBMD at the femoral neck, the difference between Chinese and non-Hispanic black women was reduced from 22% to 18% and that between Chinese and non-Hispanic white women from 7.4% to 0.8%, but the difference increased from 3.2% to 9.6% between non-Hispanic white and Mexican American women and from 13% to 17% between non-Hispanic white and non-Hispanic black women. By the age of 80 years, the accumulated bone loss rate in various regions of the proximal femur for Chinese, Mexican Americans, non-Hispanic whites, and non-Hispanic blacks were -38.9% +/- 1.8%, -34.4% +/- 3.1%, -27.8% +/- 5.9%, and -28.4% +/- 4.8%, respectively. In conclusion, bone mass in the proximal femur of native Chinese women is significantly lower, and the bone loss rate greater, than those of non-Asian women in the United States. At the femoral neck, the vBMD of Chinese women is similar to that of non-Hispanic white women.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Aging / ethnology
  • Aging / physiology*
  • Bone Density / physiology*
  • China
  • Female
  • Femur / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Osteoporosis / ethnology
  • Osteoporosis / pathology
  • Random Allocation
  • United States / ethnology