Osteoporosis International

, Volume 23, Issue 3, pp 811–820

The potential impact of the National Osteoporosis Foundation guidance on treatment eligibility in the USA: an update in NHANES 2005–2008

  • B. Dawson-Hughes
  • A. C. Looker
  • A. N. A. Tosteson
  • H. Johansson
  • J. A. Kanis
  • L. J. MeltonIII
Original Article

DOI: 10.1007/s00198-011-1694-y

Cite this article as:
Dawson-Hughes, B., Looker, A.C., Tosteson, A.N.A. et al. Osteoporos Int (2012) 23: 811. doi:10.1007/s00198-011-1694-y



This analysis of National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) 2005–2008 data describes the prevalence of risk factors for osteoporosis and the proportions of men and postmenopausal women age 50 years and older who are candidates for treatment to lower fracture risk, according to the new Fracture Risk Assessment Tool (FRAX)-based National Osteoporosis Foundation Clinician’s Guide.


It is important to update estimates of the proportions of the older US population considered eligible for pharmacologic treatment for osteoporosis for purposes of understanding the health care burden of this disease.


This is a cross-sectional study of the NHANES 2005–2008 data in 3,608 men and women aged 50 years and older. Variables in the analysis included race/ethnicity, age, lumbar spine and femoral neck bone mineral density, risk factor profiles, and FRAX 10-year fracture probabilities.


The prevalence of osteoporosis of the femoral neck ranged from 6.0% in non-Hispanic black to 12.6% in Mexican American women. Spinal osteoporosis was more prevalent among Mexican American women (24.4%) than among either non-Hispanic blacks (5.3%) or non-Hispanic whites (10.9%). Treatment eligibility was similar in Mexican American and non-Hispanic white women (32.0% and 32.8%) and higher than it was in non-Hispanic black women (11.0%). Treatment eligibility among men was 21.1% in non-Hispanic whites, 12.6% in Mexican Americans, and 3.0% in non-Hispanic blacks.


Nineteen percent of older men and 30% of older women in the USA are at sufficient risk for fracture to warrant consideration for pharmacotherapy.


Bone mineral density Dawson-Hughes, B. National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey National Osteoporosis Foundation Clinician’s Guide Osteoporosis 

Copyright information

© International Osteoporosis Foundation and National Osteoporosis Foundation 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • B. Dawson-Hughes
    • 1
  • A. C. Looker
    • 2
  • A. N. A. Tosteson
    • 3
    • 4
  • H. Johansson
    • 5
  • J. A. Kanis
    • 5
  • L. J. MeltonIII
    • 6
  1. 1.Jean Mayer United States Department of Agriculture Human Nutrition Research Center on AgingTufts UniversityBostonUSA
  2. 2.National Center for Health Statistics, Centers for Disease Control and PreventionHyattsvilleUSA
  3. 3.Multidisciplinary Clinical Research Center in Musculoskeletal DiseasesDartmouth Medical SchoolLebanonUSA
  4. 4.The Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical PracticeDartmouth Medical SchoolLebanonUSA
  5. 5.WHO Collaborating Centre for Metabolic Bone DiseasesUniversity of Sheffield Medical SchoolSheffieldUK
  6. 6.Division of EpidemiologyCollege of Medicine, Mayo ClinicRochesterUSA

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