Muscle power and physical activity are associated with bone strength in older men: The osteoporotic fractures in men study

Julie M. Cousins, Moira A. Petit, Misti L. Paudel, Brent C Taylor, Julie M. Hughes, Jane A. Cauley, Joseph M. Zmuda, Peggy M. Cawthon, Kristine E Ensrud

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

54 Scopus citations


The purpose of these analyses was to explore whether physical activity score, leg power or grip strength were associated with tibia and radius estimates of bone strength, cortical density, or total bone area. Peripheral quantitative computed tomography (pQCT) was used to compare tibial and radial bone volumetric density (vBMD, mg/cm3), total (ToA, mm2) and cortical (CoA, mm2) bone area, and estimates of bone compressive strength (bone strength index, BSI) and bending strength (polar strength strain index, SSIp) in a subset (n=1171) of men (- 65years) who participated in the multi-site Osteoporotic Fractures in Men (MrOS) study. Physical activity was assessed by questionnaire (PASE), leg power by Nottingham Power Rig, and grip strength by a hand-held Dynamometer. Participants were categorized into quartiles of PASE, grip strength or leg power. The model was adjusted for age, race, clinic, weight, and limb length. In the tibia, BSI (+7%) and SSIp (+4%) were highest in the most active physically quartile compared to the least active (p<0.05). At the 4% site of the tibia, men with the greatest leg power had both greater ToA (+5%, p<0.001) and BSI (+5.3%, p=0.086) compared to men with the least leg power. At the 66% site of the tibia, the men with the highest leg power, compared to the men with the lowest leg power, had greater ToA (+3%, p=0.045) SSIp (+5%, p=0.008). Similar results were found at both the distal and midshaft of the radius. The findings of this study suggest the importance of maintaining levels of physical activity and muscle strength in older men to prevent bone fragility.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)205-211
Number of pages7
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 2010

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The Osteoporotic Fractures in Men (MrOS) Study is supported by National Institutes of Health funding. The following institutes provided support: the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS), the National Institute on Aging (NIA), the National Center for Research Resources (NCRR), and NIH Roadmap for Medical Research under the following grant numbers: U01 AR45580 , U01 AR45614 , U01 AR45632 , U01 AR45647 , U01 AR45654 , U01 AR45583 , U01 AG18197 , U01-AG027810 , and UL1 RR024140 .


  • Bone geometry
  • Bone strength
  • Older men
  • Peripheral quantitative computed tomography
  • Physical activity

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