Relationship between ultrasound bone parameters, lung function, and body mass index in healthy student population
Low bone mineral density has been reported in paediatric and adult patients with different lung diseases, but limited data are available on the association between lung function and bone density in a healthy young population. We explored the predictors of association between bone mass and pulmonary function in healthy first-year university students, focusing on body mass index (BMI). In this cross-sectional study we measured bone density with ultrasound and lung function with spirometry in 370 university students (271 girls and 99 boys). Information on lifestyle habits, such as physical activity, smoking, and alcohol consumption were obtained with a questionnaire. All lung function and bone parameters were significantly higher in boys than in girls (P<0.001). Underweight students had a significantly lower forced vital capacity (FVC%) (P=0.001 girls; P=0.012 boys), while overweight students had a significantly higher FVC% than normal weight students (P=0.024 girls; P=0.001 boys). BMI significantly correlated with FVC% (P=0.001) and forced expiratory volume in 1 second (FEV1 %) in both genders (P=0.001 girls; P=0.018 boys) and with broadband ultrasound attenuation (BUA) in boys. There were no significant associations between any of the bone and lung function parameters either in boys or girls. The most important determinant of lung function and ultrasound bone parameters in our study population was body mass index, with no direct association between bone density and lung function.