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01.12.2015 | Research article | Ausgabe 1/2015 Open Access

BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders 1/2015

Body mass index at 11 years and bone mass at age 18: path analysis within the 1993 Pelotas (Brazil) birth cohort study

BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders > Ausgabe 1/2015
Ludmila Correa Muniz, Ana Maria Baptista Menezes, Maria Cecília Formoso Assunção, Jeovany Martínez-Mesa, Fernando Cesar Wehrmeister, Laura D Howe, Pedro Curi Hallal, Helen Gonçalves, Fernando C Barros
Wichtige Hinweise

Electronic supplementary material

The online version of this article (doi:10.​1186/​s12891-015-0529-y) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

Competing interests

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.

Authors’ contributions

LCM, JMM and FCW participated in the data collection; LCM, JMM and LDH performed the statistical analyses; LCM carried out the first draft of manuscript. AMBM, MCFA, PCH, HG and FCB conceived the study, and participated in its design and coordination. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.



We investigated whether Body Mass Index (BMI) at 11 years old has a direct effect on bone mass at age 18 operating through alterations to bone growth and development, or whether the association is mediated by concurrent BMI, fat mass (FM), and fat free mass (FFM).


Path analysis was used to explore the association between BMI at age 11 and whole-body bone mineral content (BMC) and bone mineral density (BMD) assessed by dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry (DXA) at age 18 in a prospective birth cohort study comprising 3,307 adolescents; we also evaluated the degree to which this association was mediated by BMI, FM (kg) and FFM (kg) assessed by plethysmography (BOD POD) at age 18.


We found a positive association between BMI at age 11 and BMC (males [β = 179.7 g, 95% CI 161.4; 198.0]; females [β = 179.9 g, 95% CI 165.3; 194.6]) and BMD (males [β = 0.030 g/cm2, 95% CI 0.024; 0.035]; females [β = 0.029 g/cm2, 95% CI 0.025; 0.033]) at age 18. This association was largely mediated by BMI and FFM at age 18 in both female and male adolescents. FM at age 18 was not an important mediator.


Concurrent BMI and FFM were the main mediators of the association between BMC/BMD in late adolescence and BMI in early adolescence.
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