Document Type


Publication Date



Objectives: No nationwide paediatric reference standards for bone mineral density (BMD) are available in China. We aimed to provide sex-specific BMD reference values for Chinese children and adolescents (3-18 years). Methods: Data (10 818 participants aged 3-18 years) were obtained from cross-sectional surveys of the China Child and Adolescent Cardiovascular Health in 2015, which included four municipality cities and three provinces. BMD was measured using Hologic Discovery Dual Energy X-ray Absorptiometry (DXA) scanner. The DXA measures were modelled against age, with height as an independent variable. The LMS statistical method using a curve fitting procedure was used to construct reference smooth cross-sectional centile curves for dependent versus independent variables. Results: Children residing in Northeast China had the highest total body less head (TBLH) BMD while children residing in Shandong Province had the lowest values. Among children, TBLH BMD was higher for boys as compared with girls; but, it increased with age and height in both sexes. Furthermore, TBLH BMD was higher among US children as compared with Chinese children. There was a large difference in BMD for height among children from these two countries. US children had a much higher BMD at each percentile (P) than Chinese children; the largest observed difference was at P50 and P3 and the smallest difference was at P97. Conclusions: This is the first study to present a sex-specific reference dataset for Chinese children aged 3-18 years. The data can help clinicians improve interpretation, assessment and monitoring of densitometry results.

Copyright Statement

This is an open access article distributed in accordance with the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY 4.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt and build upon this work, for commercial use, provided the original work is properly cited. See:

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.