Physical activity is known to influence the bone mass of an individual. Few studies have examined the effect of occupational activities on bone health. The present study investigated the relationship between occupational activities and the bone parameters measured by dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry in 158 women from a low-income group in India. Women involved in three occupations with different bone-loading patterns (beedi (cigarette) makers, sweepers and construction workers) were included in the study. Anthropometric parameters, parity and percentage of menopausal women did not differ significantly between the three groups and dietary intake of Ca was low in all the groups. Bone mineral density (BMD) values of the overall group at all the sites were much lower than those reported from developed countries, possibly due to different body sizes in these regions. Femoral neck and hip BMD were not different in the three groups in spite of marked differences in activity patterns. However, bone area in the femoral neck was higher in the beedi makers compared with sweepers probably due to the squatting position adopted by beedi makers. Lumbar spine BMD was significantly lower among the sweepers when compared with the beedi makers and the groups performing walking and weight-bearing activities (sweepers and construction workers) had a higher prevalence of osteoporosis in the lumbar spine. However, weight-bearing effects of the upper body due to a squatting position were associated with better lumbar spine BMD in the beedi makers. The present study thus indicates that undernutrition might affect the relationship between occupational activities and bone parameters.