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Heel bone mass of a young South Indian population with a Nigerian population residing in a South Indian suburban neighborhood: a comparative study

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This cross-sectional cohort emphasized the impact of heel bone mass in the South Indian population and its comparison with Nigerian ethnicity, residing in South India. Peak bone mass, however, evidenced a significant decrease of around 30% compared to that of Nigerian ethnicity.


In the South Indian population, the local folks do not seem to be well informed about the relative association of bone mass with osteoporosis. Hence, there is an acute necessity to assess the same with respect to the ethnic population, presumed to have possessed high bone mass, i.e., the Nigerian population.


The calcaneus of the right foot was measured with a quantitative ultrasound device (Sahara, Hologic Inc., USA) for a total population of 734, out of which 314 were Indian males, 348 Indian females, 41 Nigerian males, and 30 Nigerian females, whose ages ranged from 18 to 35 years.


The peak bone mass in Indian males and females is 0.507 ± 0.1 and 0.479 ± 0.1 g cm−2, respectively, and it is 0.714 ± 0.2 and 0.682 ± 0.2 g cm−2 with regard to Nigerian male and female populations, respectively. Indian males and females who were within the age group of 26–30 and ≤20 years, respectively, represented high bone mass, and the same was the situation with respect to Nigerian counterparts who were within the age group of 21–25 years. Indian and Nigerian non-vegetarian population of both the genders demonstrated a high significance value of p < 0.000001, deciphered by means of unpaired t test.


Peak bone strength was dominant in the Nigerian population compared to that of Indians. The Indian population is approximately lagging by 28–30% with respect to peak bone mass behind their Nigerian equivalents. Indian non-vegetarian male and female populations lagged by 6.15% and 6.16% behind the Indian vegetarian male and female populations, respectively.

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The authors wish to express their gratitude to the health care authorities of SRM Hospital and Research Centre for providing the required facilitative infrastructure. They also wish to thank Mr. Kishore Mohan, Research Scholar, as well as final year M. Tech students of Biomedical Engineering (2009 to 2011 batch), SRM University, for their kind support and help.

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Correspondence to V. Sapthagirivasan.

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Sapthagirivasan, V., Anburajan, M. Heel bone mass of a young South Indian population with a Nigerian population residing in a South Indian suburban neighborhood: a comparative study. Osteoporos Int 23, 2661–2669 (2012).

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