Bone Acquisition and Peak Bone Mass

  • Laura K. Bachrach


The foundation of bone health is established in the first three decades of life [1]. Peak bone mass, acquired by early adulthood, serves as the bone bank, for the remainder of adult life. The more robust the skeletal mass at its peak, the greater the amount of bone loss (from aging, menopauswe, and other factors) that can be tolerated without clinical signs of osteoporosis The pace of bone mineral acquisition is similar to that of linear bone growth, with rapid gains in infancy, slower increases during childhood, and major gains at puberty [2]. Approximately half of peak bone mass is gained during the teenage years, making this a critical period for optimizing conditions for skeletal health. Unlike growth patterns, however, peak bone mineral acquisition lags 8 months behind peak height velocity [3]. Furthermore, gains in bone mineral continue into the third decade after bone growth has ceased [4]. Bone mineral acquired by early adulthood is a key determinant of the lifetime risk of osteoporosis. Peak bone mass accounts for at least half of the variability in skeletal mass in the elderly, with the remainder attributable to subsequent bone loss [1]. Largely, peak bone mass is predetermined by heritable factors. Family and twin studies suggest that 60% to 80% of the differences in peak bone mass between individuals can be attributed to genetics [5, 6].


Bone Mineral Density Bone Mineral Cystic Fibrosis Bone Mass Anorexia Nervosa 
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© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2003

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  • Laura K. Bachrach

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