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J Epidemiol Community Health. 2008 Feb;62(2):174-80. doi: 10.1136/jech.2006.056622.

The epidemiology of fractures in England.

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  • 1Department of Health, London, UK.



Fractures are a considerable public health burden in the United Kingdom but information on their epidemiology is limited.


This study aims to estimate the true annual incidence and lifetime prevalence of fractures in England, within both the general population and specific groups, using a self-report methodology.


A self-report survey of a nationally representative general population sample of 45,293 individuals in England, plus a special boost sample of 10,111 drawn from the ethnic minority population.


The calculated fracture incidence is 3.6 fractures per 100 people per year. Lifetime fracture prevalence exceeds 50% in middle-aged men, and 40% in women over the age of 75 years. Fractures occur with reduced frequency in the non-white population: this effect is seen across most black and minority ethnic groups.


This study suggests that fractures in England may be more common than previously estimated, with an overall annual fracture incidence of 3.6%. Age-standardised lifetime fracture prevalence is estimated to be 38.2%. Fractures are more commonplace in the white population.

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