Maturity and activity-related differences in bone mineral density: Tanner I vs. II and gymnasts vs. non-gymnasts.Bone. 2006 Oct; 39(4):895-900.BONE
This study tests the hypotheses that (1) Tanner I and Tanner II girls comprise distinct maturational cohorts, exhibiting BMD differences that are not explained by age and body size alone; and (2) within these distinct maturational cohorts, BMD is higher in gymnasts than non-gymnasts, independent of age and body size. Premenarcheal artistic gymnasts (n=28) and non-gymnasts (n=28) were evaluated. Fan-beam DXA measured areal BMD (aBMD) at the forearm, femoral neck, and lumbar spine; fat free mass (FFM) was derived from whole-body scans. Height, weight, physical activity and calcium intake were assessed. Group means were compared using ANOVA; ANCOVA was used to adjust for age, height and FFM. For all 3 sites and both maturity levels, gymnasts had higher aBMD than non-gymnasts, independent of age and body size (7.2-20.8%, p<0.04). After adjustment for age, height and FFM, Tanner II gymnasts demonstrated lower aBMD than Tanner I gymnasts at the femoral neck (7.6%, p<0.05); no other maturity group comparisons yielded statistically significant differences independent of age and body size. In conclusion, for both Tanner groups, the osteogenic role of impact activity is evident at all three sites. Trends in Tanner group differences in aBMD were specific to gymnast and non-gymnast activity groups and therefore were not generalizable to all subjects. Overall, aBMD correlations and ANCOVA results differ by activity group, maturity level and site. These results highlight the need to consider both maturity and activity status in studies assessing bone accrual.