Muscle strength is associated with bone health independently of muscle mass in postmenopausal women: the Japanese population-based osteoporosis study

J Bone Miner Metab. 2019 Jan;37(1):53-59. doi: 10.1007/s00774-017-0895-7. Epub 2017 Dec 27.


There are conflicting reports on whether muscle strength is associated with bone mineral density (BMD) independently of muscle mass. Here, we examined the association between muscle strength and BMD in a representative population of Japanese women. Cross-sectional data from 680 postmenopausal women, who were participants in the 15th-year follow-up survey of the Japanese Population-based Osteoporosis cohort study, were analyzed. Areal BMD (aBMD) at the femoral neck and lumbar spine, whole-body bone mineral density, and appendicular skeletal muscle mass (ASM, kg) were measured by dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry. The ASM index (ASMI, kg/m2) was calculated as ASM divided by height squared (m2). Grip strength (kg) was measured as an indicator of muscle strength. Grip strength showed significantly (P < 0.05) positive relationships with aBMDs at several skeletal sites after adjusting for ASMI and age (standardized partial regression coefficient (β) = 0.102 at femoral neck, β = 0.126 at lumbar spine). Adjusted means of aBMD at the femoral neck and lumbar spine showed significant increasing trends from the lowest to highest tertile of grip strength. Our findings indicate that muscle strength is associated with aBMD at several sites independently of muscle mass in Japanese postmenopausal women. Thus, postmenopausal women with strong muscle strength tend to have a healthy bone status regardless of muscle size.

Keywords: Body composition; Epidemiology; Musculoskeletal system.

MeSH terms

  • Absorptiometry, Photon
  • Aged
  • Asian People*
  • Body Mass Index
  • Bone Density
  • Bone and Bones / diagnostic imaging
  • Bone and Bones / physiopathology*
  • Cohort Studies
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Hand Strength
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Muscle Strength / physiology*
  • Muscles / pathology*
  • Muscles / physiopathology
  • Organ Size
  • Osteoporosis / diagnostic imaging
  • Osteoporosis / physiopathology*
  • Postmenopause / physiology*