The Developmental Origins of Osteoporosis

  • Clare Shere
  • Cyrus Cooper
  • Elaine M. DennisonEmail author
Part of the Healthy Ageing and Longevity book series (HAL, volume 9)


Osteoporosis is a disease characterised by poor bone strength and microarchitecture, causing bone fragility, which leads to an increased risk of fractures. Although primarily seen as a disease of old age, evidence is accumulating that in utero and early life environment can set an individual on a trajectory for osteoporosis and fragility fracture in later life. The development of osteoporosis is dependent on peak bone mass, and the subsequent rate of loss. The peak bone mass achieved by the third decade of life has been shown to be a powerful predictor of osteoporosis; although peak bone mass is partly genetically determined, the remaining majority contribution is attributable to environmental exposures in early life and modifiable lifestyle factors through life. Current osteoporosis management focuses on bone loss later in life, but it is important to consider strategies earlier in the lifecourse. This review will focus on events operating in utero, or early in post-natal life that influence bone health of the individual.


Developmental origin Osteoporosis Early life environment Peak bone mass Fragility fracture 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Clare Shere
    • 1
  • Cyrus Cooper
    • 1
  • Elaine M. Dennison
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.MRC Epidemiology Lifecourse Epidemiology Unit, Southampton General HospitalUniversity of SouthamptonSouthamptonUK

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