• bone mineral;
  • dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry;
  • children;
  • gender;
  • ethnicity


Previous reports of gender and ethnic differences in bone mineral in prepubertal children have been inconsistent due to different methodologies, the problematic nature of bone density by dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) calculated as the ratio of bone mineral mass to projected bone area (BA), and the generally small study populations. The aim of this study was to test the hypothesis that gender and ethnic differences in bone mineral by DXA are present in prepubertal children. The subjects were 336 healthy Asian, black, and white prepubertal children (172 females and 164 males). Total body bone mineral content (TBBMC) was adjusted for total body BA (TBBA), age, height, and weight. Adjusted mean TBBMC was greater in males than in females (p = 0.01). The gender difference was independent of ethnicity. Adjusted mean TBBMC was different for black compared with nonblack children (p = 0.001). The ethnic difference was a function of TBBA and weight. This study in a multiethnic population of prepubertal children shows (1) a gender difference in TBBMC and (2) an ethnic difference in TBBMC.