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Abstract

Forty males and 40 females, ages 18–21 years, were recruited into a prospective study to investigate the consolidation of bone mineral after cessation of linear growth and the influences of calcium intake, lifestyle factors, physical activity, and body composition on bone. Three sets of bone measurements were made annually at the spine, hip, and whole body (dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry) and at the wrist and midshaft radius (single photon absorptiometry). At baseline, the bone mineral content (BMC) was significantly greater in males than females at all sites (p < 0.004). After adjustment for scan area (BA), height, weight, and age, male BMC was significantly greater than female BMC at the midshaft radius (+7.4%; p < 0.01) but lower at the spine (-10.9%; p < 0.001) with no difference at the wrist, hip, or whole body. Positive effects of leanness on bone were observed in females but not in males. Dietary calcium, nutrient intakes, and physical activity levels were not size-independent determinants of BMC at any site. Significant increases in whole-body BMC were observed within individuals over the study period of 670 (SD 51) days, +13% in males and +2.1% in females (p < 0.01), mirrored by increases in BMC and BA at most skeletal sites. After allowing for changes in BA, significant increases (p < 0.01) were observed in adjusted BMC for the whole body (males, +1.1%; females, +0.6%), lumbar spine (males, +1.5%; females, +1.1%), and midshaft radius (males, +1.9%; females, +2.0%). No lifestyle or anthropometric factors were identified that influenced these longitudinal increases in bone mineral.