Osteoporosis International

, Volume 18, Issue 10, pp 1337–1344 | Cite as

Associations between the metabolic syndrome and bone health in older men and women: the Rancho Bernardo Study

  • D. von Muhlen
  • S. Safii
  • S. K. Jassal
  • J. Svartberg
  • E. Barrett-Connor
Original Article



We examined the associations of metabolic syndrome (MS) with BMD, osteoporosis, and osteoporotic fractures in 417 men and 671 women from the Rancho Bernardo Study. After adjusting for BMI, MS was associated with lower, not higher BMD. Incidence of osteoporotic non-vertebral fractures was higher in participants with MS. MS may be another risk factor for osteoporotic fractures.


The metabolic syndrome (MS) is a cluster of risk factors, including abdominal obesity, high glucose, triglycerides, hypertension and low HDL levels, associated with cardiovascular disease morbidity. The association between components of the MS and bone mineral density (BMD) has been researched, but results are contradictory.


We used multivariate regression models to examine the cross-sectional associations of MS defined by NCEP-ATP III criteria with BMD and osteoporosis, and the longitudinal association of MS with fractures in 420 men and 676 women from the Rancho Bernardo Study.


Prevalence of MS at baseline was 23.5% in men and 18.2% in women. In age-adjusted analyses, men and women with MS had higher BMD at total hip when compared to those without MS (p < 0.001 and p = 0.01, respectively). Men but not women with MS also had higher BMD at femoral neck (p = 0.05). After adjusting for BMI, these associations were reversed, such that MS was associated with lower and not higher BMD.


Incidence of osteoporotic non-vertebral fractures was higher in participants with MS. MS may be another risk factor for osteoporotic fractures. The association of MS with higher BMD was explained by the higher BMI in those with MS.


BMI Fractures Men Metabolic syndrome Osteoporosis Women 


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Copyright information

© International Osteoporosis Foundation and National Osteoporosis Foundation 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • D. von Muhlen
    • 1
  • S. Safii
    • 1
  • S. K. Jassal
    • 2
  • J. Svartberg
    • 3
  • E. Barrett-Connor
    • 1
  1. 1.Family and Preventive MedicineUCSDLa JollaUSA
  2. 2.Healthcare System, Internal Medicine, Family and Preventive MedicineUCSDSan DiegoUSA
  3. 3.Department of MedicineUniversity Hospital of North NorwayTromsøNorway

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