The aim of this study was to evaluate bone mineral density changes in patients with juvenile chronic arthritis (JCA) and to determine the most likely causes of osteoporosis in these patients. Eighteen (11 male, 7 female) patients suffering from JCA and 14 healthy controls (10 male, four female) were included in this study. The mean age of the patients and control groups were 11.0 +/- 3.2 and 10.9 +/- 2.9 years respectively. Disease activity was determined by clinical and laboratory evaluation and 'Articular Disease Severity Score' (ADSS). Bone mineral density (BMD) of the femoral neck and lumbar spine was measured by dual photon absorptiometry.