Int J Sports Med 1991; 12(2): 214-217
DOI: 10.1055/s-2007-1024670
© Georg Thieme Verlag Stuttgart · New York

Low Vertebral Bone Density Values in Young Non-Elite Female Runners

O. Louis1 , K. Demeirleir2 , W. Kalender3 , H. A. Keizer4 , P. Platen5 , W. Hollmann5 , M. Osteaux1
  • 1Department of Radiology, Akademisch Ziekenhuis, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Brussels, Belgium
  • 2Department of Sports Medicine Clinic Akademisch Ziekenhuis, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Brussels, Belgium
  • 3Siemens Medical Systems, Erlangen, West Germany
  • 4Department of Physiology, Rijksuniversiteit Limburg, Maastricht, Netherlands
  • 5Institute for Cardiology and Sports Medicine, Cologne, West Germany
Further Information

Publication History

Publication Date:
14 March 2008 (online)


Thirty-five female runners (26.6 ± 0.9 years, range 17-35) were scheduled for bone mineral density evalation, using quantitative computed tomography of the lumbar spine. In 17 women with oligo-amenorrhea, vertebral bone mineral density was under the normal range (defined from a control group of 46 sedentary healthy females in the same age range), while it was within the normal range in all runners with regular menses (n = 18). When age classes were considered, all runners aged 17-21 (11/11) were found to have oligo-amenorrhea and low bone mineral density values, the difference in mineral density with the controls of the same age quartile being highly significant (p < 0.001). Runners from the two youngest age classes (17-21 and 22-26) had started training early after menarche (0.9 + 0.6 and 2.5+1.6 years, respectively). These results show that very young female runners with oligo-amenorrhea may have impressively low bone mineral density values. The possibility that early onset of training, close to menarcheal age, might be a risk factor for low mineral density, deserves further investigation.