Percentile distributions of bone measurements in Iowa children: The Iowa Bone Development Study

Marcia C. Willing, James C. Torner, Trudy L. Burns, Kathleen F. Janz, Teresa A. Marshall, Julie Gilmore, John J. Warren, Steven M. Levy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Four hundred twenty-eight white children (200 boys and 228 girls) ages 4.5-6.5 yr had spine, hip, and whole-body bone mineral density (BMD) and bone mineral content (BMC) measured by dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) as part of the Iowa Bone Development Study. Anthropometric measurements, including height, weight, and body mass index (BMI) were determined for each child at the time the bone measurements were made. The age- and gender-specific height percentile based on the 2000 CDC Growth Charts ( was determined for each child. These percentiles were used to classify children into four groups as defined by the 25th, 50th, and 75th percentile cutpoints. Percentile distributions were determined within each height quartile group to delineate percentiles (5th, 25th, 50th, 75th, 95th) for BMD and BMC. Gender differences in BMD and BMC were investigated before and after stratification into height groups. Boys had higher age-height-weight-adjusted means for most BMD and BMC measures except spine BMD. Bone measurements increased with height quartile, indicating that taller children have greater BMD and BMC compared to shorter children of the same age and gender. Within any given quartile, mean BMD and BMC measurements were similar for boys and girls, with the exception of hip BMD, for which values were consistently higher for boys (p < 0.05). In addition, whole-body BMC values were higher for boys in quartiles 1 and 3 (p < 0.05). These bone measures provide norms for young white children and serve as a reference for comparison with other racial and ethnic groups, as well as with childhood populations that are at risk for osteopenia because of chronic disease. Gender, age, and height are useful clinical predictors of BMD and BMC in young children.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)39-47
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Clinical Densitometry
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2005


  • Bone mineral content (BMC)
  • Bone mineral density (BMD)
  • Children
  • Densitometry


Dive into the research topics of 'Percentile distributions of bone measurements in Iowa children: The Iowa Bone Development Study'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this