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Growth in infancy and bone mass in later life
  1. Cyrus Coopera,
  2. Caroline Falla,
  3. Peter Eggera,
  4. Richard Hobbsb,
  5. Richard Eastellc,
  6. David Barkera
  1. aMRC Environmental Epidemiology Unit, University of Southampton, Southampton General Hospital, Southampton, United Kingdom , bDepartment of Nuclear Medicine, Hertford County Hospital, Hertford, United Kingdom, cClinical Sciences Centre, Northern General Hospital, Sheffield, United Kingdom
  1. Dr Cyrus Cooper, MRC Environmental Epidemiology Unit, Southampton General Hospital, Tremona Road, Southampton, SO16 6YD.


OBJECTIVE To examine the association between weight in infancy and bone mass during the seventh decade of life in a population based cohort for which detailed birth and childhood records were preserved.

METHODS 189 women and 224 men who were aged 63-73 years and were born in East Hertfordshire underwent bone densitometry by dual energy x ray absorptiometry. Measurements were also made of serum osteocalcin and urinary excretion of type 1 collagen cross linked N-telopeptide.

RESULTS There were statistically significant associations between weight at 1 year and bone mineral content (but not bone mineral density) at the spine (P < 0.02) and femoral neck (P < 0.01) among women, and spine (P < 0.03) among men. Although serum osteocalcin was negatively correlated with bone mineral density at both sites among men and women, infant weight was not significantly associated with either biochemical marker of bone turnover.

CONCLUSIONS These data confirm our previous observations that growth in infancy is associated with skeletal size in adulthood, and suggest that skeletal growth may be programmed during intrauterine or early postnatal life.

  • growth
  • bone mass
  • infancy
  • adulthood

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