The study, “Bone Mineral Density and Vitamin D Status Among African American Children with Forearm Fractures,” in the September 2012 issue of Pediatrics (published online August 27) examined the bone mineral density and vitamin D status of 150 African American children.
Researchers found that African American children with forearm fractures are at higher risk of low bone mineral density and vitamin D deficiency compared to African American children without fractures. Obesity also may increase the risk of fractures in this population.
The authors noted a dose-dependent relationship between vitamin D level and fracture risk. Every increased unit of vitamin D level led to a 10 percent decrease in fracture risk. Given that 90 percent of peak bone mass is achieved by age 18, deficient bone health in childhood can lead to more fractures and weaker bones in adulthood.
Since forearm fractures during childhood may be a marker of suboptimal bone health status, which may continue into adulthood, childhood interventions to maximize peak bone mass could have potential long-term benefits for adults as well.