Comparison of Bone Parameters by Dual-energy X-ray Absorptiometry and Peripheral Quantitative Computed Tomography in Hutterite vs. Non-Hutterite Women Aged 35-60 Years

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Absorptiometry, Photon, Adult, Bone and Bones, Cross-Sectional Studies, Ethnic Groups, Female, Humans, Middle Aged, South Dakota


A previous report of elevated dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) bone mineral density (BMD) Z scores suggests that Hutterite females might be significantly less likely to develop osteoporosis compared with other U.S. females. In the present study, we sought to determine if high Hutterite DXA BMD Z scores were elevated because of larger bone size. Hutterites reside in isolated, self-sufficient colonies with an emphasis on agricultural production, and girls enter a strenuous task rotation at age 15 years. We obtained cross-sectional bone measurements of the 66% distal tibia using peripheral quantitative computed tomography (pQCT) to compare bone size and geometry on 97 Hutterite and 30 non-Hutterite women, aged 35-60 years. Total body (TB) and lumbar bone mineral content (BMC), BMD, and bone area measurements by DXA were available on a subset of the study population. We identified no differences between groups in pQCT total bone area, cortical bone area, or cortical bone density. Larger bone area by DXA was apparent in Hutterites compared with non-Hutterites at the TB (least square means: 2038 +/- 8 cm2 vs. 1953 +/- 19 cm2, p < 0.05) and lumbar (least square means: 58 +/- 0.5 cm2 vs. 57 +/- 2 cm2, p < 0.01) sites. TB BMC adjusted for TB bone area was marginally higher in Hutterites compared with non-Hutterites (least square means: 2341 +/- 15 g vs. 2281 +/- 30 g, p = 0.08). Hutterites had marginally higher TB BMD Z scores when controlling for weight and age (least square means: 1.3 +/- 0.1 vs. 0.8 +/- 0.2, p = 0.07). Hutterites had higher lumbar BMC adjusted for lumbar bone area and weight (least square means: 65 +/- 1 g vs. 58 +/- 2 g, p < 0.01) and higher weight-and age-adjusted lumbar BMD Z scores (least square means: 1.1 +/- 0.1 vs. 0.1 +/- 0.4, p = 0.01). Our data indicate that a true advantage in trabecular bone density probably exists among Hutterite women aged 35-60 years. Hutterite women might be protected against age-related fractures because of their larger bone size and higher bone density at normally susceptible trabecular sites.

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Elsevier Science