Osteoporosis is a major public health problem defined as a loss of bone strength, of which bone size is an important determinant. Compared with extensive studies on bone mass, studies on the importance of factors determining variation in bone size are relatively few. In particular, the significance of genetic factors is largely unknown. In 49 pedigrees with 703 subjects bone sizes of the hip, spine, and wrist were measured by dual X-ray absorptiometry. We evaluated the contribution of genetic factors in determining variation in bone size of the hip, spine, and wrist while studying age, sex, weight, height, exercise, smoking, alcohol consumption, and the interaction among these factors as covariates for their effects on bone size. We found that, on average, males have larger bone sizes. Male bone sizes at the spine and hip increased with age; however, the effect of age in our female subjects was nonsignificant. Height invariably affected bone size at all the sites studied. Alcohol consumption and exercise generally had significant effects in increasing bone size at the spine and/or hip in both males and females. After adjusting for sex, age, weight, height, lifestyle factors, and the significant interactions among these factors, heritabilities (±SE) were, respectively, 0.48 (0.09), 0.64 (0.08), and 0.60 (0.09) for bone size at the hip, spine, and wrist.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
- Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging