Bone mineral acquisition during adolescence and early adulthood: a study in 574 healthy females 10-24 years of age

Osteoporos Int. 1996;6(2):141-8. doi: 10.1007/BF01623938.


Low bone mass is known to be associated with an increased risk of fractures. Osteoporosis prevention by maximizing bone mass will be crucial and requires a better knowledge of bone mass acquisition during adolescence. Bone mass was assessed in 574 healthy volunteer females aged 10-24 years. Spine bone mineral density (BMD) in anteroposterior (AP L2-4) and lateral (LAT L3) views was measured using dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) and AP bone mineral content (BMC) was calculated. At the same time, spine AP-BMD (L2-4) was evaluated in 333 normal menstruating women, aged 27-47 years. Bone values, osteocalcin and IGF-1 serum concentrations were correlated with chronological age, skeletal age, pubertal stages and time after menarche. In this cross-sectional study, AP- and LAT-BMD and BMC increased dramatically between skeletal ages 10 and 14 or until the first year after menarche. Between 14 and 17 skeletal years of age, AP-BMD and BMC increased moderately, whereas LAT-BMD remained unchanged. After skeletal age 17, or the fourth year after menarche, there was no significant increase in BMD or BMC, and their values did not differ from those of menstruating women. A serum osteocalcin peak was observed at skeletal ages 11-12 or at stage P3, whereas IGF-1 peaked at 13-14 skeletal years of age or at P4 and the first year after menarche. Eighty-six per cent of the adult bone mass of the spine is acquired before skeletal age 14 or the second year after menarche; therefore osteoporosis prevention programs will be particularly effective before that age.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Absorptiometry, Photon
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aging / blood
  • Aging / physiology*
  • Body Constitution
  • Body Mass Index
  • Bone Density / physiology*
  • Child
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Insulin-Like Growth Factor I / metabolism
  • Lumbar Vertebrae / diagnostic imaging
  • Lumbar Vertebrae / physiology*
  • Menarche / blood
  • Menarche / physiology
  • Middle Aged
  • Osteocalcin / blood
  • Regression Analysis


  • Osteocalcin
  • Insulin-Like Growth Factor I