Black adults have higher bone mass than whites in the United States, but it is not clear when black children gain bone mineral faster than white children. We performed a cohort study to compare the growth velocity of total-body bone mineral content (TBMC) between black and white children of the same sex at different ages and stages of sexual maturity. TBMC and total-body area were measured in a cohort of 188 black and white boys and girls aged 5 to 15 years annually for up to 4 years. Rates of change in TBMC and area were found to vary with age and with Tanner stage. For both TBMC and area, growth velocities between black and white children differed significantly across Tanner stages. Age-specific velocities were higher in black children during prepuberty and initial entry into puberty but reversed in subsequent Tanner stages. Despite earlier entry into each Tanner stage, black children spent only an average of only 0.2 year longer in Tanner stages II through IV, and total gain in TBMC from age 5 to 15 was not higher in whites. In conclusion, the higher bone mass in black adults compared with whites cannot be attributed to faster accrual during puberty. It is due to black children's higher rate of bone mineral accrual in prepuberty and plausibly in postpuberty. Most of the racial difference in TBMC velocity can be explained by growth in size.
- Bone density
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
- Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism