Objective: To examine the effect of age on mineral metabolism and bone mineral density (BMD) of the hip and spine in Native American women.
Design: A cross-sectional study.
Setting: The Sac and Fox Nation in rural Oklahoma
Measurements: Serum measurements were made of 25 hydroxyvitamin D (25OHD), osteocalcin, and immunoreactive parathyroid hormone. Bone mineral density of the hip and spine was assessed by dual energy X-ray absorptiometry.
Participants: A total of 77 Native American women aged 19 to 85 years.
Results: Serum 25 hydroxyvitamin D was related inversely to age (r = -0.32; P < .05) and was less than 15 ng/mL in 7% of the subjects. Serum osteocalcin was higher (P < .001) in postmenopausal than in premenopausal subjects. In postmenopausal subjects, serum osteocalcin was related to age (r = .59, P < .001). BMD was lower (P < .001) in postmenopausal than in premenopausal subjects. There was no evidence of bone loss before age 50 in either the femur or the spine. Age (r > or = -0.48, P < .001) and body mass index (BMI) (r > or = 0.41, P < .005) were independent determinants of both femoral and lumbar BMD. Serum 25OHD was a significant independent determinant of both lumbar (r = .26, P < .05) and femoral (r = .41, P < .01) BMD. Age, BMI, and serum 25OHD together accounted for 70% of the variance in BMD at these sites. The use of t scores indicated femoral bone density was higher (P < .05) in premenopausal Native American women, and lower (P < 0.05) in postmenopausal subjects, compared with white women.
Conclusions: In Native American women, there is a reduction in bone density and a sustained increase in bone turnover postmenopausally. BMI and serum 25OHD are significant determinants of BMD. Peak BMD may be higher, and the postmenopausal rate of bone loss greater, than that in white women.