, Volume 24, Issue 3, pp 877-885
Date: 16 Jun 2012

Prevalence and risk factors of radiographic vertebral fractures in elderly Chinese men and women: results of Mr. OS (Hong Kong) and Ms. OS (Hong Kong) studies

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This study investigated the prevalence of radiographic vertebral fractures using Genant’s semiquantitative (SQ) scoring system in elderly Chinese men (n = 2,000; mean age, 72.4 years) and women (n = 2,000; mean age, 72.6 years). Vertebral deformities had similar prevalence in elderly men (14.9 %) and women (16.5 %). Majority of the deformities in men were mild (9.9 %, grade = 1). The prevalence of vertebral fractures (grade ≥ 2) was 5.0 % among men and 12.1 % among women.


Vertebral fracture is a serious consequence of osteoporosis and is often under-diagnosed. Researches on different ethnicities and territories to estimate the prevalence of vertebral fractures and to identify the risk factors are necessary.


Mr. OS (Hong Kong) and Ms. OS (Hong Kong) represent the first large-scale cohort studies ever conducted on bone health in elderly Chinese men (n = 2,000) and women (n = 2,000). The current study investigated the prevalence of radiographic vertebral fractures in these subjects using Genant’s SQ scoring system and identified risk factors for vertebral fractures.


The radiographs of all men (mean age, 72.4 years) and women (mean age, 72.6 years) were obtained. Six hundred twenty-seven subjects (15.7 %) had at least one vertebral deformity (SQ grade ≥ 1), including 297 men (14.9 %) and 330 women (16.5 %, p = 0.151). Three hundred forty-two participants (8.6 %) were defined as having at least one vertebra fracture (SQ grade ≥ 2), consisted of 100 men (5.0 %) and 242 women (12.1 %, p < 0.001). Older age, lower bone mineral density, lower physical activity, lower grip strength, fracture history, and low back pain were significantly associated with higher vertebral fracture rate for both men and women.


Vertebral deformity had similar prevalence in older men and women, while vertebral fracture was more common in women. Majority of deformities in men was mild. The vertebral deformity prevalence of women from this study is similar to previous reports of other East Asian women and Latin American women.