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Archived : 2024-01-11

The aim of this study was to determine whether a rural lifestyle leads to high bone density in young adulthood and lowers the rate of bone loss later in life. Over 1,500 men and women aged 20 to 65 years with equal numbers of Hutterites, rural non-Hutterites and non-rural non-Hutterites were followed longitudinally. Yearly blood samples, bone measurements and regular assessments of activity levels and dietary intake were obtained. The project will determine whether bone density during young adulthood and the rate of later bone loss among the Hutterite population is similar to other populations, and whether greater activity levels and calcium intake can account for the high bone density observed among the Hutterites. We also investigated genetic factors affecting bone strength. Further understanding of the role of genetics and lifestyle factors as determinants of bone density among Hutterites is necessary because they appear to be less likely to develop osteoporosis than the normal U.S. population.


South Dakota State University