Pediatric reference ranges for ultradistal radius bone density: results from the bone mineral density in childhood study

Joseph M. Kindler, Heidi J. Kalkwarf, Joan M. Lappe, Vicente Gilsanz, Sharon Oberfield, John A. Shepherd, Andrea Kelly, Karen K. Winer, Babette S. Zemel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Context: The ultradistal (UD) radius is rich in trabecular bone and is easily measured by dual energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA). UD radius areal bone mineral density (aBMD) may help identify trabecular bone deficits, but reference data are needed for research and clinical interpretation of this measure. Objective: We developed age-, sex-, and population ancestry-specific reference ranges for UD radius aBMD assessed by DXA and calculated Z-scores. We examined tracking of UD radius aBMD Z-scores over 6 years and determined associations between UD radius aBMD Z-scores and other bone measures by DXA and peripheral quantitative computed tomography. Design: Multicenter longitudinal study. Participants: A total of 2014 (922 males, 22% African American) children ages 5 to 19 years at enrollment who participated in the Bone Mineral Density in Childhood Study. Main Outcome Measure: UD radius aBMD. Results: UD radius aBMD increased nonlinearly with age (P < 0.001) and tended to be greater in males versus females (P = 0.054). Age-, sex-, and ancestry-specific UD radius aBMD reference curves were constructed. UD radius aBMD Z-scores positively associated with Z-scores at other skeletal sites (r = 0.54-0.64, all P < 0.001) and peripheral quantitative computed tomography measures of distal radius total volumetric BMD (r = 0.68, P < 0.001) and trabecular volumetric BMD (r = 0.70, P < 0.001), and was weakly associated with height Z-score (r = 0.09, P = 0.015). UD radius aBMD Z-scores tracked strongly over 6 years, regardless of pubertal stage (r = 0.66-0.69; all P < 0.05). Conclusion: UD radius aBMD Z-scores strongly associated with distal radius trabecular bone density, with marginal confounding by stature. These reference data may provide a valuable resource for bone health assessment in children.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-11
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 1 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Biochemistry
  • Endocrinology
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Biochemistry, medical


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