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Rheumatology (Oxford). 2001 Jan;40(1):7-14.

On conducting burden-of-osteoporosis studies: a review of the core concepts and practical issues. A study carried out under the auspices of a WHO Collaborating Center.

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  • 1WHO Collaborating Center for Public Health Aspects of Osteoarticular Disorders, Li├Ęge, Belgium.


Osteoporosis is a problem that is relevant to public health from the clinical, economic and social viewpoints. Except in a handful of industrialized countries, there is a considerable void in our knowledge of the magnitude of the problem. By exploring both the epidemiological and the economic impact of osteoporosis and the fractures associated with it in a particular country, studies of the 'burden of illness' (BOI) can fill that void. BOI analysis raises many questions at both the conceptual and the practical level. The purpose of this paper is to review the methodology underlying analyses of this type, to discuss its limitations and to provide a general format to improve their implementation in the field of osteoporosis. Investigators involved in BOI analysis should be very clear and explicit regarding the methods they adopt, so that studies in different countries can be interpreted and compared appropriately by interested parties.

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