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Ultrasound parameters of bone health and related physical measurement indicators for the community-dwelling elderly in Japan


Dr Misuzu Watanabe, Department of Hygiene & Public Health, Osaka Medical College, 2-7 Daigakumachi Takatsuki City, Osaka 569-8686, Japan. Email:


Deteriorated bone strength, which approaches osteoporosis, increases the likelihood that an elderly person will not able to live independently. However, few data are available pertaining to bone health and various physical objective indicators. The aim of the present study was to objectively assess bone health by quantitative ultrasound (QUS) and identify related physical measurement indicators among the elderly to aid the health promotion strategies in Japan. A cross-sectional study was performed at five welfare centers for the aged in the suburban area of Takatsuki city, Japan. Subjects comprised community-dwelling persons (134 men, 240 women) aged ≥60 years and registered at welfare centers. QUS of the right-heel was conducted and recorded as stiffness index (SI). Physical factors including body components (fat and muscle mass), handgrip strength, daily physical activity, daily walking steps, maximum and usual walking speed and maximum bite force were examined objectively during the period May–June 2005. SI in women was lower than that in men (P < 0.01) and decreased significantly with age (P < 0.01). The SI correlated with six physical items in men and with all items in women. Multiple linear regression analysis showed that muscle mass, usual walking speed and maximum bite force were the strongest physical indicators of male SI; and muscle mass, maximum walking speed and maximum bite force were the strongest indicators of female SI. Muscle training, daily walking exercise and oral health care should be included in health promotion programs for the bone health of elderly women and men in Japan.