Osteoporosis International

, Volume 16, Issue 6, pp 623–630 | Cite as

Bone mineral density in ethnic Norwegians and Pakistani immigrants living in Oslo—The Oslo Health Study

  • Kari AlverEmail author
  • Haakon E. Meyer
  • Jan A. Falch
  • Anne Johanne Søgaard
Original Article


Bone mineral density (BMD, grams per square centimeter) is scarcely studied in immigrants from the Indian subcontinent. Pakistani immigrants in Oslo, Norway, have a very high prevalence of vitamin D deficiency. Thus, it is of great interest to compare BMD between Pakistani immigrants and ethnic Norwegians in Oslo. The comparison was done with and without adjustment for skeletal size, and we examined whether known risk factors explained possible differences in bone density between these two ethnic groups. BMD was measured at the distal and ultra-distal forearm site in a random sample of the participants in the Oslo Health Study by single energy X-ray absorptiometry (SXA). One hundred and seventy-three Pakistani-born subjects (71 women, 102 men) and 1,386 Norwegian-born subjects (675 women, 711 men) aged 30, 40, 45 and 59/60 years, living in Oslo, were included in the analysis. To account for variation in skeletal size, we computed height-adjusted BMD values, BMD/height (grams per cubic centimeter), and volumetric bone mineral apparent density (BMAD, grams per cubic centimeter). We found no differences in distal or ultra-distal forearm BMD between Pakistanis and Norwegians in either women or men. We found, however, higher values in Pakistani men when BMD was height-adjusted (2% higher in distal sites and 5% in ultra-distal sites). We also found higher bone mass values (both distal and ultra-distal) in Pakistani women and men than in their Norwegian counterparts when volumetric measures, such as BMD/height (7%–8% higher in women, 6%–7% in men) and BMAD (6% higher in women, 8% in men), were used. In a regression model that included ethnicity, anthropometry and lifestyle factors, BMD was higher in Pakistani men than in Norwegian men, but not in women. We conclude that Pakistanis living in Oslo have similar BMD to ethnic Norwegians, but they have higher volumetric bone mass values. When we adjusted for confounders we found higher BMD values in Pakistani men than in Norwegian men.


Bone mineral apparent density Bone mineral density Epidemiology Ethnic group Pakistani Skeletal size 



The data collection was conducted as part of the Oslo Health Study 2000–2001 in collaboration with the National Health Screening Service of Norway—now the Norwegian Institute of Public Health.


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Copyright information

© International Osteoporosis Foundation and National Osteoporosis Foundation 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kari Alver
    • 1
    Email author
  • Haakon E. Meyer
    • 1
    • 2
  • Jan A. Falch
    • 3
  • Anne Johanne Søgaard
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Norwegian Institute of Public HealthOsloNorway
  2. 2.Institute of General Practice and Community Medicine, Faculty of MedicineUniversity of OsloOsloNorway
  3. 3.Center for EndocrinologyAker University HospitalOsloNorway

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