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Increasing lean body mass boosts bone mineral density


Untangling the relationship between bone mineral density (BMD) and body weight in different populations requires large and complex epidemiological studies. Park et al. selected 1782 Korean men and women (pre-menopausal and post-menopausal) from the Healthy Twin Study to explore the associations between BMD, fat mass (FM) and lean mass (LM).

After using statistical methods to remove the effect of other covariates, a linear mixed analysis showed that FM and LM were positively associated with the BMD of the entire body, and at specific sites (legs, arms and spine). This association was significantly stronger for lean body mass compared with fat. Similar associations between BMD, FM and LM were apparent from a quantitative genetic analysis. This agrees with previous studies, strongly suggesting that lean body mass plays a crucial role in maintaining BMD across many different populations and racial groups.

Editor's comment: Another study that confirms the extent of genetic correlation between lean mass and bone mineral density, now in the Korean families. Although a higher LM and a higher FM predict increased BMD, notably, LM had the strongest genetic correlation, implying that physical exercise can provide musculoskeletal benefits.

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