, Volume 26, Issue 3, pp 288-294
Date: 11 May 2008

Physical fitness effect on bone mass is mediated by the independent association between lean mass and bone mass through adolescence: a cross-sectional study

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We studied 278 adolescents (169 females) aged 13.0–18.5 years to elucidate whether an independent effect of physical fitness and lean mass in the differences between male and female bones can be detected. Lean and fat masses and bone mineral content (BMC) were measured with DXA. Physical fitness was evaluated with six different tests included in the EUROFIT test battery (flexibility, isometric, dynamic and endurance strength, speed, and cardiovascular fitness). To test the independent relationship between physical fitness and bone mass, multiple regression analysis was applied, including lean mass, age, and Tanner development as covariates. The males had a 43% lower fat mass and 40% and 16% higher lean mass and total BMC compared with the females (all P < 0.05). After adjustment for differences in body size and lean mass, the females exhibited a 7.4% higher BMC than the males (P < 0.05). The multiple regression analysis showed that lean mass had an independent relationship with bone mass (P < 0.001), explaining 67% of the total variance in whole-body BMC. In males, change in R 2 was 0.658 for hand grip and 0.035–0.151 for the rest of physical fitness-related variables; but 0.019–0.042 in females (all P–0.001); however, the independent relationships between physical fitness and bone disappeared after controlling for lean mass. In conclusion, it is likely the differences between male and female in bone mass could be explained by differences in lean mass and physical fitness.