September 30, 2005
Osteoporosis: Relevant to Ethnic Communities?
Steven Hawkins, Ph.D., FACSM
Associate Professor, Kinesiology and Nutritional Science
Latino women are not currently considered at high risk of osteoporosis. However, the reduced risk appears to be primarily due to lifestyle rather than genetics, and there is growing evidence that lifestyle changes associated with acculturation may impact this groupís risk of developing the disease. Osteoporosis could become a significant public health issue among this group given the demographic projections for growth of Latino segments of the United States population. As peak bone mineral density attainment is the most important modifiable risk factor for osteoporosis, it is important to identify the effect of acculturation on peak bone density in Latinas. Therefore, the goals of this research are (1) to determine the effect of acculturation on peak bone density in Latinas, (2) to determine the effect of acculturation on lifestyle determinants of bone density in Latinas, and to determine the lifestyle predictors of bone density, and 3) to establish a data base for future longitudinal research on osteoporosis risk in Latinas. The research will use a cross sectional design, studying 200 women aged 18-30 years over three years. Subjects will be selected in equal numbers from two groups (Young Acculturated Latina, Young Unacculturated Latina). Aim 1 will be achieved by testing bone density and acculturation in young Latinas and comparing the two groups. Aim 2 will be achieved by testing lifestyle determinants of bone density and acculturation in young Latinas and comparing the two groups, and using regression to predict bone density from the lifestyle determinants. Measurements will include bone mineral density of the hip, spine, forearm and total body by dual energy x-ray absorptiometry (DXA), and bone mineral density of the calcaneus by ultrasound. Acculturation will be determined by questionnaire and oral interview. Lifestyle determinants will be measured by questionnaires on medical and personal history, menstrual history, physical activity history, and nutrition. Body composition will be determined by DXA, physical activity by accelerometer, and muscle strength of the legs and aerobic endurance will be determined by fitness testing.