Osteoporosis International

, Volume 15, Issue 6, pp 439–446 | Cite as

Risk factors for low bone mineral density and the 6-year rate of bone loss among premenopausal and perimenopausal women

  • Kathleen E. Bainbridge
  • MaryFran Sowers
  • Xihong Lin
  • Sioban D. Harlow
Original Article


Risk factors that are associated with lower bone mineral density (BMD) may not necessarily be associated with increased bone loss among premenopausal and perimenopausal women. We determined risk factors for lower premenopausal and perimenopausal BMD while simultaneously determining risk factors for increased 6-year rate of bone loss among women aged 24–50 years within a population-based prospective cohort study. BMD of the lumbar spine and femoral neck, reported as t scores, were measured five times within the 6-year study among 614 women who were between the ages of 24 and 44 in 1992/1993. Rates of bone loss were calculated from the repeated BMD measurements. Risk factors for lower BMD over time at the lumbar spine included history of any fracture (P=0.005). The major risk factor for lower BMD over time at the femoral neck was family history of osteoporosis (P<0.002). The major protective factor for greater BMD over time at both skeletal sites was additional body weight (P<0.0001). Other protective factors for greater BMD over time at the femoral neck were modest alcohol consumption (P=0.0002) and high-school sports participation (P=0.002). Risk factors for greater bone loss at either skeletal site included postmenopausal status (P<0.0001 at the lumbar spine; P=0.01 at the femoral neck), and the reporting of a reproductive cancer (P<0.0001 at the lumbar spine; P=0.0008 at the femoral neck). Body weight was protective against bone loss at both skeletal sites (P<0.0001). Baseline age, calcium intake, smoking, and current physical activity were not associated with BMD or bone loss. The understanding of the relative importance of risk factors for both low BMD and bone loss may assist in the identification of women at greater risk for subsequent low postmenopausal BMD.


Bone density Bone loss Longitudinal studies Premenopause Risk factors 



Funding was obtained by AR R01–40888 (Sowers, PI) and AR P60–20557 (Sowers, PI). We acknowledge Mary Crutchfield and Mary Jannausch for their contributions to data collection and management.


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Copyright information

© International Osteoporosis Foundation and National Osteoporosis Foundation 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kathleen E. Bainbridge
    • 1
  • MaryFran Sowers
    • 1
    • 2
  • Xihong Lin
    • 3
  • Sioban D. Harlow
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Epidemiology, School of Public HealthUniversity of MichiganAnn ArborUSA
  2. 2.Suite 310, 339 East LibertyAnn ArborUSA
  3. 3.Department of Biostatistics, School of Public HealthUniversity of MichiganAnn ArborUSA

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