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Keywords:

  • socioeconomic status;
  • social disadvantage;
  • BMD;
  • population-based adults

Abstract

With few exceptions, an inverse relationship exists between social disadvantage and disease. However, there are conflicting data for the relationship between socioeconomic status (SES) and BMD. The aim of this study was to assess the association between SES and lifestyle exposures in relation to BMD. In a cross-sectional study conducted using 1494 randomly selected population-based adult women, we assessed the association between SES and lifestyle exposures in relation to BMD. BMD was measured at multiple anatomical sites by DXA. SES was determined by cross-referencing residential addresses with Australian Bureau of Statistics 1996 census data for the study region and categorized in quintiles. Lifestyle variables were collected by self-report. Regression models used to assess the relationship between SES and BMD were adjusted for age, height, weight, dietary calcium, smoking, alcohol consumption, physical activity, hormone therapy, and calcium/vitamin D supplements. Unadjusted BMD differed across SES quintiles (p < 0.05). At each skeletal site and SES index, a consistent peak in adjusted BMD was observed in the mid-quintiles. Differences in adjusted BMD were observed between SES quintiles 1 and 4 (3–7%) and between quintiles 5 and 4 (2–7%). At the spine, the maximum difference was observed (7.5%). In a subset of women, serum 25(OH)D explained a proportion of the association between SES and BMD (difference remained up to 4.2%). Observed differences in BMD across SES quintiles, consistent across both SES indices, suggest that low BMD may be evident for both the most disadvantaged and most advantaged.