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Ethnic differences in bone mineral density (BMD) and fracture risk are well-described; the aim of this study was to investigate whether central adiposity or inflammatory status contribute to these ethnic differences in BMD in later life. The Southall and Brent Revisited study (SABRE) is a UK-based tri-ethnic cohort of men and women of European, South Asian or African Caribbean origin. At the most recent SABRE follow-up (2014-2018), in addition to measures of cardiometabolic phenotype, participants had dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) bone and body composition scans. Multiple linear regression was used to determine whether markers of body composition, central adiposity or inflammatory status contributed to ethnic differences in BMD. In men and women, age- and height-adjusted BMD at all sites was higher in African Caribbeans compared to Europeans (femoral neck: standardised β (95% confidence interval): men: 1.00SD (0.75, 1.25); women: 0.77SD (0.56, 0.99)). South Asian men had higher BMD than European men at the hip (femoral neck: 0.34SD (95%CI: 0.15, 0.54)). Although adjustment for body mass index (BMI) or lean mass index (LMI) at the lumbar spine reduced the size of the difference in BMD between African Caribbean and European men (age and height adjusted difference: 0.35SD (0.08, 0.62); age and BMI adjusted difference: 0.25SD (-0.02, 0.51)), in both men and women ethnic differences remained after adjustment for measures of central adiposity (estimated visceral adipose tissue mass (VAT mass) and android to gynoid ratio) and inflammation (interleukin-6 (logIL-6) and C-reactive protein (logCRP)). Furthermore, in women, we observed ethnic differences in the relationship between BMI (overall interaction: p = 0.04), LMI (p = 0.04) or VAT mass (p = 0.009) and standardised lumbar spine BMD. In this tri-ethnic cohort, ethnic differences in BMD at the femoral neck, total hip or lumbar spine were not explained by BMI, central adiposity or inflammatory status. Given ethnic differences in fracture incidence, it is important to further investigate why ethnic differences in BMD exist.

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Body composition, Bone mineral density, Epidemiology, Ethnicity, Inflammation, Osteoporosis