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Durham University

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Publication details for Dr Karen Hind

Hind, K., Pearce, M. & Birrell, F. (2017). Total and Visceral Adiposity Are Associated With Prevalent Vertebral Fracture in Women but Not Men at Age 62 Years: The Newcastle Thousand Families Study. Journal of Bone and Mineral Research 32(5): 1109-1115.

Author(s) from Durham


Low body weight is an established risk factor for osteoporosis and fracture, but the skeletal risks of higher adiposity are unclear and appear sex‐specific and site‐dependent. The aim of this study was to investigate associations of total fat mass (TFM), visceral adipose tissue (VAT), and C‐reactive protein (CRP) with bone mineral density (BMD) and prevalent vertebral fracture (VF) in men and women aged 62 years. A total of 352 men and women aged 62.5 ± 0.5 years from the Newcastle Thousand Families Study cohort received dual‐energy X‐ray absorptiometry (DXA) evaluations of femoral neck and lumbar spine BMD, of the lateral spine for vertebral fracture assessment, and of the whole body for TFM and VAT (GE Lunar CoreScan, Madison, WI, USA). Plasma CRP, FRAX scores, falls in the last 12 months, and occupation at age 50 years were also included in the analysis. Vertebral fractures were less prevalent in women than in men (odds ratio [OR] = 0.33, p < 0.001) and BMD or FRAX scores did not differ between participants with and without VF. Women with VF were heavier and had higher TFM, VAT, and CRP than women without (p < 0.001). In women, greater (+1 SD) TFM and VAT increased the odds of any grade VF (TFM: OR = 1.06, p = 0.001; VAT: OR = 2.50, p = 0.002), and greater VAT mass increased the odds of prevalent mild VF (OR = 2.60, p = 0.002). In contrast, there were no associations in men. In both sexes, after controlling for body weight, neither VAT nor CRP were associated with BMD. In conclusion, irrespective of BMD, total and visceral adiposity were associated with prevalent VF in women but not in men. High fat mass, particularly if visceral, should be considered when assessing VF risk in women. Risk factors for VF in men require further investigation, particularly given their high prevalence.