Associations between body mass index across adult life and hip shapes at age 60 to 64: Evidence from the 1946 British birth cohort

Bone. 2017 Dec;105:115-121. doi: 10.1016/j.bone.2017.08.017. Epub 2017 Aug 24.


Objective: To examine the associations of body mass index (BMI) across adulthood with hip shapes at age 60-64years.

Methods: Up to 1633 men and women from the MRC National Survey of Health and Development with repeat measures of BMI across adulthood and posterior-anterior dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry bone mineral density images of the proximal femur recorded at age 60-64 were included in analyses. Statistical shape modelling was applied to quantify independent variations in hip mode (HM), of which the first 6 were examined in relation to: i) BMI at each age of assessment; ii) BMI gain during different phases of adulthood; iii) age first overweight.

Results: Higher BMI at all ages (i.e. 15 to 60-64) and greater gains in BMI were associated with higher HM2 scores in both sexes (with positive HM2 values representing a shorter femoral neck and a wider and flatter femoral head). Similarly, younger age first overweight was associated with higher HM2 scores but only in men once current BMI was accounted for. In men, higher BMI at all ages was also associated with lower HM4 scores (with negative HM4 values representing a flatter femoral head, a wider neck and smaller neck shaft angle) but no associations with BMI gain or prolonged exposure to high BMI were found. Less consistent evidence of associations was found between BMI and the other four HMs.

Conclusion: These results suggest that BMI across adulthood may be associated with specific variations in hip shapes in early old age.

Keywords: Body mass index; Hip shape; Life course epidemiology; Statistical shape modelling.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Body Mass Index*
  • Cohort Studies
  • Female
  • Hip / anatomy & histology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Parturition*
  • Young Adult