Lean body mass, not estrogen or progesterone, predicts peak bone mineral density in premenopausal women

Lee Jane W. Lu, Fatima Nayeem, Karl E. Anderson, James J. Grady, Manubai Nagamani

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


Estrogen and body fat content are important predictors of bone mineral density (BMD) in postmenopausal women, but their association with BMD in premenopausal women is less clear. Mounting evidence suggests that dietary fats can have detrimental effects on bone health. In a cross-sectional sample of healthy 30- to 40-y-old women (n = 242), we investigated the predictors of BMD at the hip and spine by multilevel multiple regression analyses. Predictor variables in the models included dietary intake of various fats, serum concentrations of sex steroids, blood chemistries and markers of metabolic syndrome, anthropometric variables, and ethnicity. Among these premenopausal women, lean body mass was the strongest independent predictor (P < 0.0001) and African-American ethnicity (P < 0.05) was another positive independent predictor of BMD at the hip and spine. Dietary fats were not independent predictors of BMD of hip and spine. Lean body mass and being African-American explained 33% of the variance in hip BMD. Lean body mass, African-American ethnicity, and serum concentrations of triglycerides (a negative predictor, P= 0.0001) explained 28% of the variance in spine BMD. In contrast, luteal phase serum concentrations of estradiol, progesterone, and testosterone were not predictors of BMD. It remains to be determined whether efforts to increase lean body mass in premenopausal women with normal levels of endogenous estrogen may be an effective preventive strategy to preserve bone health.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)250-256
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Nutrition
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2009

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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