Osteoporosis International

, Volume 17, Issue 1, pp 20–28 | Cite as

Lifestyle interventions to prevent osteoporotic fractures: a systematic review

  • Catherine A. Lock
  • Janet Lecouturier
  • James M. Mason
  • Heather O. Dickinson


The purpose of this study was to evaluate the clinical effectiveness of lifestyle interventions for preventing osteoporotic fractures in people at high risk. Data sources were electronic bibliographic databases, reference lists of systematic reviews, meta-analyses and included trials, registers of trials and conference databases. There was no language restriction. Study selection comprised randomized controlled trials (RCTs), with appropriate comparator groups and at least 8 weeks of follow-up, reporting a fracture endpoint. Two reviewers independently abstracted data on the population, interventions evaluated, trial quality and outcomes of interest: fractures at any site, spinal, hip and wrist fractures. Six RCTs, enrolling over 1,656 participants, met the inclusion criteria. Overall, trials were of uncertain quality. We categorized trials by type of intervention: exercise ( n =3), multifactorial interventions (environmental modifications, exercise programs and review of medical conditions, medication and aids) ( n =2) and exposure to sunlight ( n =1), and used random effects meta-analyses to combine data within these categories. Exercise was associated with a non-significantly lower risk of spinal fractures (RR=0.52, 95% CI=0.17 to 1.60). Multifactorial interventions were associated with a lower risk of hip fracture, which was of borderline statistical significance (RR=0.37, 95% CI=0.13 to 1.03). Exposure to sunlight was associated with a non-significantly lower risk of hip fracture (RR=0.17, 95% CI=0.02 to 1.35). While withdrawals from treatment were poorly reported, there was no indication of adverse effects of treatment. Multifactorial interventions may reduce the risk of hip fractures when delivered by residential care staff and health visitors. More RCTs of higher quality, recording fractures at all sites susceptible to osteoporotic fractures, are necessary to evaluate exercise interventions, exposure to sunlight and the place of lifestyle alongside pharmacological interventions.


Effectiveness Fractures Lifestyle Osteoporosis Prevention Systematic review 



We would like to thank Ms. Beth Anderson for secretarial support, Mrs. Fiona Beyer for running searches and managing references, and Dr. N.J. Vetter, who kindly provided data missing from his trial publication. This work was undertaken with funding from the National Institute for Clinical Excellence and was carried out on behalf of the National Collaborating Centre for Nursing and Supportive Care. The views expressed are those of the authors and not necessarily those of the funding body.


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Copyright information

© International Osteoporosis Foundation and National Osteoporosis Foundation 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Catherine A. Lock
    • 1
  • Janet Lecouturier
    • 1
  • James M. Mason
    • 2
  • Heather O. Dickinson
    • 1
  1. 1.Center for Health Services Research, School of Population and Health SciencesUniversity of Newcastle upon TyneNewcastle upon TyneUK
  2. 2.School for HealthUniversity of Durham, Queen’s CampusStockton-on-TeesUK

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