European Journal of Epidemiology

, Volume 22, Issue 5, pp 335–341 | Cite as

Familial aggregation of forearm bone mineral density in Chinese

  • Xiumei Hong
  • Tianhua Niu
  • Changzhong Chen
  • Binyan Wang
  • Scott A. Venners
  • Zhian Fang
  • Xiping Xu
Loco-motor disease


Osteoporosis is a major public health concern and its prevalence can be predicted based on forearm bone mineral density (BMD). This study is to investigate the familial aggregation of forearm BMD in a population-based, cross-sectional study in Anhui, China. Information on sociodemographic and environmental variables was obtained from 1,636 subjects from 409 nuclear families (including mother, father, and their first two children) by a standardized questionnaire. The forearm BMD was measured by peripheral dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (pDXA). Using generalized additive models with a sequential adjustment for covariates, it was clearly indicated that the forearm BMD of the mother, the father, and the first sibling each had a significant and independent relation to the forearm BMD of the second sibling. Furthermore, using multiple logistic regression, the second sibling had an odds ratio (OR) of 5.3 (95%CI: 2.0–14.5) of having an extremely low (bottom 10th percentile) proximal forearm BMD and an OR of 4.3 (95%CI: 1.6–12.0) of having an extremely low distal forearm BMD when the parental mean forearm BMD was low and the first sibling’s forearm BMD was low. Our findings showing strong familial aggregation of both proximal and distal forearm BMD values suggest that genetic factors play a significant role in determining both traits.


Bone mineral density Familial aggregation Regression model 



Bone mineral density


Odds ratio


Peripheral dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry



We wish to acknowledge the assistance and cooperation of the faculty and staff of the Harvard School of Public health, the Anqing Medical University, Anqing Public Health Bureau and Anqing Hospital. Drs. Changzhong Chen and Binyan Wang were supported in part by Fogarty International Center Training Grant TW00828.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Xiumei Hong
    • 1
  • Tianhua Niu
    • 2
  • Changzhong Chen
    • 2
    • 3
  • Binyan Wang
    • 3
  • Scott A. Venners
    • 1
  • Zhian Fang
    • 3
  • Xiping Xu
    • 1
    • 3
  1. 1.Center for Population Genetics, Division of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, School of Public Health M/C 923University of Illinois at ChicagoChicagoUSA
  2. 2.Program for Population GeneticsHarvard School of Public HealthBostonUSA
  3. 3.Institute for BiomedicineAnhui Medical UniversityHefeiChina

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