Clinical Criteria Can Identify Children with Osteopenia in Newly Diagnosed Crohn Disease

Naama Ronel, Raffi Lev Tzion, Esther Orlanski-Meyer, Eyal Shteyer, Anat Guz-Mark, Amit Assa, David Strich, Dan Turner, Oren Ledder*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Objectives:Chronic inflammation of Crohn disease (CD) is associated with reduced bone mineral density (BMD). As bone mass is almost exclusively accrued during childhood, early recognition of osteopenia is especially important in pediatric CD. We aimed to identify variables associated with osteopenia to guide dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) scan screening to those who most need it.Methods:This was a retrospective inception cohort study of children newly diagnosed with CD, and routinely referred to DXA scans. Demographic and explicit clinical data were recorded along with whole-body less head BMD, adjusted for age, sex, and height by z-scores.Results:Of the 116 included children (mean age 13 ± 3.1 years, 67 [58%] boys, mean body mass index [BMI] 16.7 ± 2.6), 63 (54%) had normal BMD (z-score > -1) or borderline osteopenia (-1 ≥ z-score > -2) and 53 (46%) had osteopenia (z-score ≤ -2). Osteopenia was associated with lower BMI z-score (-0.8 ± 1.2 vs-1.8 ± 1.1, P < 0.001) and higher PCDAI (33.7 ± 15.2 vs 25.7 ± 16.5; P = 0.009) than those with BMD z-score >-2. In total, 59% of children with BMI z-score <-0.5 had moderate-severe osteopenia and only 18% of those with higher z-scores. Multivariate logistic regression identified BMI z-score as the sole risk factor (OR 1.28 [95% CI 1.08-1.52], P = 0.005). BMI z-score ≥-0.5 excludes osteopenia with a sensitivity 87%, specificity 49%, NPV 82%, and PPV 59%.Conclusions:Osteopenia was found in nearly half of children with newly onset CD. BMI z-score <-0.5 should prompt referral to DXA screening.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)270-275
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1 Feb 2021
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

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© 2021 Lippincott Williams and Wilkins. All rights reserved.


  • inflammatory bowel disease
  • osteopenia
  • pediatric


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