Dietary Calcium, Protein, And Phosphorus Are Related To Bone Mass In Young Women

September 04, 1998

Background: Dietary factors have been implicated in modifying bone health, although the results remain controversial, particularly in young women.

Objective: The objective of the study was to determine relations of selected dietary factors and anthropometric measurements to bone mineral density (BMD) of the spine, femoral neck, trochanter, Ward's triangle, radius, and total body and the bone mineral content (BMC) of the spine, radius, and total body.

Design: The study was a cross-sectional analysis of 215 women aged 18-31 y.

Results: Weight, height, and lean mass were correlated with bone mineral measures at every site (r = 0.17-0.78). Postmenarcheal age (years since onset of menses) was positively correlated with total-body BMD and BMC, radius BMD and BMC, and spine BMC, and negatively correlated with Ward's triangle BMD. Radius BMD was correlated with protein, calcium, and phosphorus intakes, and spine BMD and BMC were correlated with energy, protein, calcium, and phosphorus intakes. These correlations remained significant when postmenarcheal age, lean mass, and fat mass were controlled. A pattern emerged in multiple regression analyses that showed a complex relation among calcium, protein or phosphorus, and the calcium-protein or calcium-phosphorus ratio and spine or total-body BMC and BMD. All 3 variables (calcium, protein or phosphorus, and calcium-protein or calcium-phosphorus ratio) were required in the model for significance.

Conclusions: Anthropometric measures were predictors of bone mass. A single ratio of calcium to phosphorus or protein did not optimize bone mass across the range of calcium intakes. Am J Clin Nutr 1998;68:749-54.

Key words: Bone density, premenopausal women, young women, calcium, phosphorus, protein, bone mineral density, and bone mineral content

From the Department of Foods and Nutrition, the Department of Health, Kinesiology and Leisure Studies, and the Department of Statistics, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN; and Indiana University Medical Center, Indianapolis.

Dorothy Teegarden, Roseann M Lyle, George P McCabe, Linda D McCabe, William R Proulx, Kathryn Michon, Ada P Knight, C Conrad Johnston, and Connie M Weaver.

Accompanying editorial by R.P. Heaney.

American Journal of Clinical Nutrition

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