Bone mass in women with celiac disease: role of exercise and gluten-free diet

Dig Liver Dis. 2012 May;44(5):379-83. doi: 10.1016/j.dld.2011.12.012. Epub 2012 Jan 24.


Background and aim: Celiac patients report fatigue and reduced social activities, which may decrease physical activity. This study investigated the physical activity, fatigue and bone mineral density in celiac women at diagnosis and during diet.

Materials and methods: The first group (n=48) had the bone mineral density measured at diagnosis and after 2 years of a gluten-free diet; in the second group (n=47) bone mineral density was measured at diagnosis and after 5 years of a gluten-free diet. Both groups completed a physical activity questionnaire and visual analogue scale for the perception of fatigue at diagnosis and follow-up. Data about smoking habits, alcohol use, presence of gastrointestinal symptoms, drug therapy and body mass index were also collected.

Results: At diagnosis, the two groups were similar for all considered variables. At follow-up, the mean body mass index and physical activity questionnaire's score were similar to baseline. The bone density increased in both groups, whilst the physical activity questionnaire and visual analogue scale remained unchanged.

Conclusion: The improvement in bone density following a gluten-free diet was significant after 2 years; physical activity is frequently low and plays a minor role in determining the changes in bone mineral density.

MeSH terms

  • Absorptiometry, Photon
  • Adult
  • Bone Density / physiology*
  • Calcium, Dietary / administration & dosage
  • Celiac Disease / diet therapy*
  • Celiac Disease / physiopathology*
  • Diet, Gluten-Free*
  • Fatigue / physiopathology
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Health Behavior
  • Humans
  • Motor Activity*
  • Vitamin D / blood


  • Calcium, Dietary
  • Vitamin D