Infant bone growth and maternal vitamin D levels during pregnancy influence future fracture risk

Can bones remember? According to new research presented at the IOF World Congress on Osteoporosis in Toronto, Canada they can. Not in the traditional sense, of course, but in that their vulnerability to osteoporosis and fractures depends on how the bones developed during pregnancy and childhood, according to Dr. Kassim Javaid of the MRC Epidemiology Resource Center, in Southampton, UK (conference abstract P108).

These findings come at a time when IOF is preparing for World Osteoporosis Day 2006. The event, which will be celebrated on October 20 by IOF's members in 85 countries, will focus for the first time on the role of nutrition in building bones, with the theme "Bone Appetit."

Poor skeletal growth during infancy can increase risk of later-life fractures

Javaid and colleagues previously demonstrated an association between poor skeletal growth in older children and increased fracture risk among the elderly. Now, the researchers find that poor skeletal growth during infancy and early childhood also enhances the risk of future fractures. "Now we have evidence that the bone mass you have at the age of 80 reflects what you started with very early in life."

To produce these findings, Javaid et al. compared weight and length data from 13,345 children (6,370 women) born in Helsinki between 1934 and 1944--both at birth and at varying childhood intervals--with their recorded hip fractures during old age. The researchers found that children whose weight was low relative to their length during infancy and early childhood had more hip fractures later in life.

Javaid cautions that weight's source--meaning the amount contributed by fat versus muscle mass--was not investigated. Therefore, children won't necessarily lessen their risk of osteoporosis by gaining fat, he said. Moreover, separate findings from a study of Caucasian and Chinese adults, led by Dr. Hong-Wen Deng of the University of Missouri, in Kansas, City (Conference abst

Contact: A Leopold
International Osteoporosis Foundation

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