• Article

Estimating prevalence of osteoporosis Examples from industrialized countries

In nine industrialized countries in North America, Europe, Japan, and Australia, country-specific osteoporosis prevalence (estimated from published data) at the total hip or hip/spine ranged from 9 to 38 % for women and 1 to 8 % for men. In these countries, osteoporosis affects up to 49 million individuals.

Standardized country-specific prevalence estimates are scarce, limiting our ability to anticipate the potential global impact of osteoporosis. This study estimated the prevalence of osteoporosis in several industrialized countries (USA, Canada, five European countries, Australia, and Japan) using the World Health Organization (WHO) bone mineral density (BMD)-based definition of osteoporosis: BMD T-score assessed by dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry ≤-2.5.

Osteoporosis prevalence was estimated for males and females aged 50 years and above using total hip BMD and then either total hip or spine BMD. We compiled published location-specific data, using the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) III age and BMD reference groups, and adjusted for differences in disease definitions across sources. Relevant NHANES III ratios (e.g., male to female osteoporosis at the total hip) were applied where data were missing for countries outside the USA. Data were extrapolated from geographically similar countries as needed. Population counts for 2010 were used to estimate the number of individuals with osteoporosis in each country.

For females, osteoporosis prevalence ranged from 9 % (UK) to 15 % (France and Germany) based on total hip BMD and from 16 % (USA) to 38 % (Japan) when spine BMD data were included. For males, prevalence ranged from 1 % (UK) to 4 % (Japan) based on total hip BMD and from 3 % (Canada) to 8 % (France, Germany, Italy, and Spain) when spine BMD data were included.

Up to 49 million individuals met the WHO osteoporosis criteria in a number of industrialized countries in North America, Europe, Japan, and Australia.


Wade, S., Strader, C., Fitzpatrick, L., Anthony, M., & O'Malley, C. (2014). Estimating prevalence of osteoporosis: Examples from industrialized countries. Archives of Osteoporosis, 9, [182]. DOI: 10.1007/s11657-014-0182-3

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