Relationship between abdominal fat and bone mineral density in white and African American adults

Peter T. Katzmarzyk, Pennington Biomedical Research Center, Louisiana State University System, Baton Rouge, LA, USA.
Tiago V. Barreira
Deirdre M. Harrington
Amanda E. Staiano
Steven B. Heymsfield
Jeffrey M. Gimble


Several studies have documented relationships between adipose tissue and bone mineral density (BMD); however, the degree to which there are racial differences in this relationship is not known. The purpose of this study was to examine the relationships between abdominal visceral adipose tissue (VAT) and subcutaneous adipose tissue (SAT) and BMD among white and African American adults. The sample included 330 white women, 328 African American women, 307 white men, and 116 African American men 18-74 years of age. Dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry scans were used to measure BMD and computed tomography scans were used to measure abdominal VAT and SAT. Linear regression was used to assess the relationships between abdominal adiposity and BMD and to explore possible sex and race differences in the associations. In the total sample as well as in all sex-by-race groups, VAT and SAT were negatively related to BMD, after adjustment for lean body mass (LBM) and several covariates. The VAT model (including covariates) explained 33.3% of the variance in BMD and the SAT model (including covariates) explained 32.7% of the variance in BMD. Being African American, being male, and having high LBM were all associated with higher BMD. Race and sex interactions were not significant, indicating that the relationships were similar across race and sex groups. In conclusion, BMD was inversely related to abdominal VAT and SAT in white and African American adults after adjustment for LBM.