, Volume 2, Issue 1-2, pp 45-52
Date: 20 Oct 2007

Osteoporosis among Ethiopian immigrant women: a risk analysis

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Abstract

Summary

The objective was to evaluate the prevalence of osteoporosis among Ethiopian immigrant and Israeli-born women and to determine the risk factors. The study revealed extreme prevalence of osteoporosis among Ethiopian immigrants (38.7). A strong association between calcium intake during adolescence, BMI, lactation duration, physical activity, oral contraceptive and osteoporosis is suggested.

Introduction

Osteoporosis is a chronic disease characterized by low bone mass and deterioration in the micro-architecture of bone that increases its susceptibility to fractures. We set out to evaluate the prevalence of osteoporosis among Ethiopian immigrant and Israeli-born women and to determine the risk factors.

Methods

A cross-sectional study among 181 Ethiopians immigrants and 98 Israeli-born women. Hip, forearm and spinal bone mineral density (BMD) were measured. Risk factor information was obtained from an interview. BMD and osteoporosis rates were compared between the groups. Step-wise regression models were constructed for osteoporosis as the dependent variable controlling for potential confounders.

Results

We defined 38.7% Ethiopian and 5.2% Israeli-born women as having osteoporosis. Rates of low BMI, prolonged lactation, age at first giving birth and sunlight exposure were higher in Ethiopian women compared to the Israeli-born. Multivariate analysis revealed a strong association between calcium intake during adolescence, BMI, lactation duration, physical activity, oral contraceptive use and osteoporosis.

Conclusions

The prevalence of osteoporosis among Ethiopian immigrant women living in Israel is extremely high compared to national and international rates. Therefore, we suggest that an immediate prevention program among Ethiopian women be started and guidelines for care-givers be developed, in order to raise their awareness for osteoporosis.

Drs. Peled and Dahan contributed equally to this article.