Risk factors for nonvertebral fracture in obese older women

Study of Osteoporotic Fractures, M O Premaor, K Ensrud, L Lui, R A Parker, J Cauley, T A Hillier, S Cummings, J E Compston

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


CONTEXT: A high prevalence of obesity has recently been reported in postmenopausal women with low trauma fracture, suggesting that higher bone mineral density (BMD) in obese individuals may not be protective against fracture.

OBJECTIVE: The aim of this study was to compare BMD and other risk factors for nonvertebral fracture in 1377 obese postmenopausal women.

DESIGN: Characteristics of obese women with and without incident nonvertebral fracture were investigated among the prospective cohort in the Study of Osteoporotic Fractures.

SETTING: The Study of Osteoporotic Fractures is a multicenter study of 9704 women (>99% Caucasian) aged 65 yr and over who were recruited between September 1986 and October 1988 from population-based listings at four U.S. clinical centers.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURE: The main outcome measure was nonvertebral fracture.

RESULTS: BMD T-scores in the spine, femoral neck, and total hip were significantly lower in obese women who experienced fractures than in obese women without fracture: mean differences, -0.56 [95% confidence interval (CI) = -0.73 to -0.39], -0.46 (95% CI = -0.57 to -0.36), and -0.51 (95% CI = -0.62 to -0.39), respectively (P < 0.0001 for all). A previous history of fracture [odds ratio = 1.69 (95% CI = 1.33-2.14); P < 0.0001] and femoral neck BMD [1.62 (95% CI = 1.42-1.85) per sd decrease in BMD; P < 0.0001] were independently associated with incident nonvertebral fracture.

CONCLUSIONS: Obese postmenopausal women who sustain nonvertebral fractures have significantly lower BMD on average than obese women without fracture and are more likely to have a past history of fracture. Fractures in obese postmenopausal women thus exhibit some characteristics of fragility fractures.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2414-21
Number of pages8
JournalThe Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism (JCEM)
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2011


  • Aged
  • Bone Density
  • Female
  • Hip Fractures
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Logistic Models
  • Obesity
  • Osteoporosis
  • Prevalence
  • Risk Factors
  • United States
  • Wrist Injuries


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