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BACKGROUND: Body composition is associated with bone mineral density (BMD), but the precise associations between body fat distribution and BMD remain unclear. The regional adipose tissue depots have different metabolic profiles. We hypothesized that they would have independent associations with BMD. RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS: We used data from 4,900 healthy individuals aged 30-50 years old from the Oxford Biobank to analyze associations between regional fat mass, lean mass and total BMD. RESULTS: Total lean mass was strongly positively associated with BMD. An increase in total BMD was observed with increasing mass of all the fat depots, as measured either by anthropometry or DXA, when accounting for lean mass. However, on adjustment for both total fat mass and lean mass, fat depot specific associations emerged. Increased android and visceral adipose tissue mass in men, and increased visceral adipose tissue mass in women, were associated with lower BMD. CONCLUSIONS: Fat distribution alters the association between adiposity and BMD.

Original publication




Journal article


Expert Rev Endocrinol Metab

Publication Date



1 - 7


Obesity, body fat distribution, bone mineral density, dual energy x-ray absorptiometry, lean mass