University of Oulu

Mikkola, T.M., von Bonsdorff, M.B., Osmond, C. et al. Osteoporos Int (2017) 28: 2717.

Childhood growth predicts higher bone mass and greater bone area in early old age : findings among a subgroup of women from the Helsinki Birth Cohort study

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Author: Mikkola, T. M.1,2; von Bonsdorff, M. B.1,2; Osmond, C.3;
Organizations: 1Folkhälsan Research Center, Topeliuksenkatu 20,00250 Helsinki, Finland
2Gerontology Research Center and Department of Health Sciences, University of Jyvaskyla, Jyvaskyla, Finland
3MRC Lifecourse Epidemiology Unit, University of Southampton, Southampton General Hospital, Southampton, UK
4Chronic Disease Prevention Unit, National Institute for Health and Welfare, Helsinki, Finland
5Children’s Hospital, Helsinki University Hospital and University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland
6Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, MRC Oulu, Oulu University Hospital and University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
7University of Oxford, Oxford, UK
8Division of Endocrinology, Department of Medicine, Helsinki University Hospital, Helsinki, Finland
9Department of General Practice and Primary Health Care, University of Helsinki and Helsinki University Hospital, Helsinki, Finland
Format: article
Version: accepted version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 1 MB)
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Language: English
Published: Springer Nature, 2017
Publish Date: 2019-11-06


Summary: We examined the associations between childhood growth and bone properties among women at early old age. Early growth in height predicted greater bone area and higher bone mineral mass. However, information on growth did not improve prediction of bone properties beyond that predicted by body size at early old age.

Introduction: We examined the associations between body size at birth and childhood growth with bone area, bone mineral content (BMC), and areal bone mineral density (aBMD) in early old age.

Methods: A subgroup of women (n = 178, mean 60.4 years) from the Helsinki Birth Cohort Study, born 1934–1944, participated in dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) measurements of the lumbar spine and hip. Height and weight at 0, 2, 7, and 11 years, obtained from health care records, were reconstructed into conditional variables representing growth velocity independent of earlier growth. Weight was adjusted for corresponding height. Linear regression models were adjusted for multiple confounders.

Results: Birth length and growth in height before 7 years of age were positively associated with femoral neck area (p < 0.05) and growth in height at all age periods studied with spine bone area (p < 0.01). Growth in height before the age of 7 years was associated with BMC in the femoral neck (p < 0.01) and birth length and growth in height before the age of 7 years were associated with BMC in the spine (p < 0.05). After entering adult height into the models, nearly all associations disappeared. Weight gain during childhood was not associated with bone area or BMC, and aBMD was not associated with early growth.

Conclusions: Optimal growth in height in girls is important for obtaining larger skeleton and consequently higher bone mass. However, when predicting bone mineral mass among elderly women, information on early growth does not improve prediction beyond that predicted by current height and weight.

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Series: Osteoporosis international
ISSN: 0937-941X
ISSN-E: 1433-2965
ISSN-L: 0937-941X
Volume: 28
Issue: 9
Pages: 2717 - 2722
DOI: 10.1007/s00198-017-4048-6
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 3123 Gynaecology and paediatrics
Funding: HBCS was financially supported by Emil Aaltonen Foundation, Finnish Foundation for Diabetes Research, Novo Nordisk Foundation, Signe and Ane Gyllenberg Foundation, Samfundet Folkhälsan, Finska Läkaresällskapet, Liv och Hälsa, European Commission within the 7th Framework Programme (DORIAN, grant agreement no. 278603), and European Union Horizon 2020 programme (DYNAHEALTH grant no. 633595). The Academy of Finland supported M.B.v.B. (grant no. 257239), E.K. (grant no. 127437, 129306, 130326, 134791, and 2639249), and J.G.E. (grant no. 129369, 129907, 135072, 129255, and 126775).
EU Grant Number: (633595) DYNAHEALTH - Understanding the dynamic determinants of glucose homeostasis and social capability to promote Healthy and active aging
Academy of Finland Grant Number: 127437
Detailed Information: 127437 (Academy of Finland Funding decision)
129306 (Academy of Finland Funding decision)
130326 (Academy of Finland Funding decision)
134791 (Academy of Finland Funding decision)
Copyright information: © International Osteoporosis Foundation and National Osteoporosis Foundation 2017. This is a post-peer-review, pre-copyedit version of an article published in Osteoporosis International. The final authenticated version is available online at: