The association between age and bone mineral density in men and women aged 55 years and over: The Rotterdam Study

H. Burger, P. L.A. van Daele, D. Algra, F. A. van den Ouweland, D. E. Grobbee, A. Hofman, C. van Kuijk, H. E. Schütte, J. C. Birkenhäger, H. A.P. Pols*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


In this cross-sectional study, bone mineral density (BMD) measurements were performed in 1762 ambulatory subjects (678 men and 1084 women) aged 55 years and over from the Rotterdam Study, a population based study of diseases in the elderly. BMD measurements of the proximal femur and lumbar spine were performed using dual energy X-ray absorptiometry. No age-related decline in BMD could be observed in the lumbar spine. Yearly percentage BMD reduction in women and men was −0.6% and −0.3% in the femoral neck, −0.8% and −0.5% in the Ward's triangle, and −0.4% and −0.3% in the trochanter, respectively. Late menopause was associated with high BMD in Ward's triangle and lumbar spine. We conclude that: (1) accurate assessment of age-related bone reduction in the spine is impossible from cross-sectional studies since BMD measurements in the elderly may be influenced by spinal osteoarthritis; and (2) the rate of age-related bone reduction in the femoral neck appears to be approximately two times higher in women than in men.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-13
Number of pages13
JournalBone and Mineral
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1994

Cite this