Introduction Osteoporosis is a bone condition characterised by low bone mass and increased susceptibility to fractures in older adults, particularly females. Peak bone mass (PBM) is accrued by age twenty in females. It is imperative adequate PBM be acquired in adolescent females to minimise future risk for osteoporosis. There is limited literature on the relationship between SES as a risk factor and bone properties in adolescent females.
Methods In a cross-sectional study of Canadian adolescent females (n=412) from six randomly selected schools in Southern Ontario, multivariable regression analyses were used to assess the association between aggregate SES indices and bone speed of sound (SOS) in a multilevel model, participants nested in schools. Bone SOS was measured by transaxial quantitative ultrasound at the distal radius and mid-tibia. SES was determined by matching residential address for each participant with Statistics Canada 2006 Census data for their dissemination area.
Results Mean age was 15.7±1.1 years. Multilevel analysis found a significant difference in SOS among schools at both radial and tibial sites (p<0.001). Multivariable regression analysis indicated significant positive relationships for median family income (p=0.036) and median household income (p=0.017) with tibial SOS adjusted for grade, weight, body mass index, smoking and alcohol use. Further analysis of average family income (p=0.035) and average household income (p=0.017) also indicated significant positive relationships with tibial SOS.
Conclusion These data suggest school and SES at census aggregate variable level are important predictors for bone SOS in female adolescents, school appearing to dominate SES variables.
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