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Bone & Muscle Mass – Genetic Factors

Lean Body Composition May be Determined Prenatally

The main factors determining bone and muscle mass in adult life may be prenatal.

  • An examination of 143 people aged in their 70s found a positive correlation between birth weight and adult weight, bone density and muscle mass, independently of whether they exercised, consumed alcohol, smoked or took calcium supplements.
  • According to the authors of the study, bone and muscle development may be programmed both genetically and by prenatal factors.
  • They suggest birth weight may account for as much as 25% of variance in muscle mass in people aged 60-70 in the north of the UK.
  • They also suggest that a similar effect in bone may mean that the potential for altering the risk of osteoporosis by actions in adult life may be very limited. This is another challenging contribution from the Southampton group.

Source: Gale CR, et al. J Clin Endocrinol Metab 2001

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