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Bone Mineral Density in Older U.S. Filipino, Chinese, Japanese, and White Women

Bone mineral density (BMD) reference data exist for U.S. White, Black, and Hispanic (Mexican American) populations but not for U.S. Asians. Few studies have compared BMD findings among different U.S. Asian ethnicities. Retrospective observational study. Large northern California healthcare system. Asian and White women aged 50 to 79 years with BMD testing from 1998 to 2017 excluding those with estrogen or osteoporosis treatment, recent fracture, or select disorders affecting skeletal health. Femoral neck (FN)-BMD and height data. Differences in FN-BMD were examined by ethnicity and age, comparing Filipino, Chinese, and Japanese women and non-Hispanic White women. Differences in BMD were also examined after adjustment for height. There were 37,224 Asian women (including 11,147 Filipino, 10,648 Chinese, and 2,519 Japanese) and 115,318 non-Hispanic White women. Mean height was similar among the Asian subgroups and about 6 to 8 cm lower than Whites. Mean FN-BMDs differed by less than 3% for Filipino, Chinese, and Japanese and all were lower than Whites, with smaller Asian-White differences among younger women (<3%; ages 50-59) and larger differences among older women (6-8%; ages 65-79). Adjusting FN-BMD for height reduced White-Asian differences by about 30% to 40%. Mean FN-BMD and height for Filipino, Chinese, and Japanese women were similar but consistently lower than White women, especially among older women. Although Asian-White BMD differences were substantially attenuated after height adjustment; some differences persisted for older women. Future studies should investigate potential age-cohort effects and the extent to which these BMD differences influence fracture risk and clinical care.

Authors: Lo, Joan C; Chandra, Malini; Lee, Catherine; Darbinian, Jeanne A; Ramaswamy, Mohan; Ettinger, Bruce

J Am Geriatr Soc. 2020 11;68(11):2656-2661. Epub 2020-10-12.

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