Impacts of body mass index, physical activity, and smoking on femoral bone loss: The tromsø study

Nina Emaus, Tom Wilsgaard, Luai Awad Ahmed

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

34 Citations (Scopus)


Bone mineral density (BMD) is a reflection of bone strength and lifestyles that preserve bone mass and may reduce fracture risk in old age. This study examined the effect of combined profiles of smoking, physical activity, and body mass index (BMI) on lifetime bone loss. Data were collected from the population-based Tromsø Study. BMD was measured as g/cm2 by dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) at the total hip and femoral neck in 2580 women and 2084 men aged 30 to 80 years in the 2001-02 survey, and repeated in 1401 women and 1113 men in the 2007-08 survey. Height and weight were measured and lifestyle information was collected through questionnaires. Data were analyzed using linear mixed models with second-degree fractional polynomials. From the peak at the age around 40 years to 80 years of age, loss rates varied between 4% at the total hip and 14% at femoral neck in nonsmoking, physically active men with a BMI of 30kg/m2 to approximately 30% at both femoral sites in heavy smoking, physically inactive men with a BMI value of 18kg/m 2. In women also, loss rates of more than 30% were estimated in the lifestyle groups with a BMI value of 18kg/m2. BMI had the strongest effect on BMD, especially in the oldest age groups, but a BMI above 30kg/m 2 did not exert any additional effect compared with the population average BMI of 27kg/m2. At the age of 80 years, a lifestyle of moderate BMI to light overweight, smoking avoidance, and physical activity of 4 hours of vigorous activity per week through adult life may result in 1 to 2 standard deviations higher BMD levels compared with a lifestyle marked by heavy smoking, inactivity, and low weight. In the prevention of osteoporosis and fracture risk, the effect of combined lifestyles through adult life should be highlighted.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2080-2089
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Bone and Mineral Research
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • DXA

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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