Geographic Variance in Fracture Risk

Variance in Fracture Risk: Where you live may affect your bone density and chances of osteoporosis

Geographic Fracture Risk Fracture (Photo credit: El Mnopo)

Geographic Fracture Risk
Fracture (Photo credit: El Mnopo)

Bordeaux, France, March 21, 2012 – The International Osteoporosis Foundation (IOF) Group on Epidemiology and Quality of Life, has published in the journal Osteoporosis International, an extensive study of region-specific hip fracture risk and 10-year likelihood of a major fragility fracture has revealed a remarkable geographic differences in risk of fracture. Researchers indicate that even with the elimination of outlying data and potential errors in the data collection, there is as much as a tenfold difference in risk of hip fracture and general fracture probability between regions. The goal of this research project was to compile and cross-reference the largest amount of bone density/hip fracture risk data, then look for commonalities in variance to better understand the disease state. Data from 63 countries was compiled. Hip fractures were the preferred statistic by country as opposed to other osteoporotic fractures, as hip fractures are most commonly treated in hospitals and clinics, where other fractures are at times ignored making them a less reliable point of analysis. Hip fractures are also more costly and contribute to mortality in individuals over the age of 50, more so than the other osteoporotic fractures. The study found the lowest incidence of hip fracture was found in Tunisia and in Ecuador, whereas the highest incidence was found in northern Europe specifically Denmark and Norway. Rates were proportional for men and women, with women having the higher rate in every country other than Russia. Here the women were at moderate risk, and men were at high risk of fracture.

There is a burden on the global health care system as well as economy of countries who employ workers over the age of 50, as fragility fractures affect approximately one in every 3 women and one in every 5 men in this age category. The map seen below  shows variance in Fracture Risk, hip fracture incidence for both genders, in color-coding.

The interactive/more detailed map can be found on the International Osteoporosis Foundation website at

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