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Osteoporos Int. 1996;6(1):69-75.

International comparison of hip fracture rates in 1988-89.

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  • 1National Center for Health Statistics, Hyattsville, Maryland, 20781, USA.


A comparison of hip fracture rates among nine countries (Canada, Chile, Finland, Hong Kong, Scotland, Sweden, Switzerland, the United States and Venezuela) was made using national hospital discharge data for the same time interval. The rates increased by age and were higher for females than males in all nine countries. When based on overall discharge rates, the incidence of hip fracture appeared high in three European countries (Finland, Scotland and Sweden) relative to the other countries. However, when transfer cases were removed and adjustments made for differences in case definition, the risk of hip fracture for both men and women was much similar among the four European and two North American countries, but higher than in Hong Kong. Rates of fracture were lowest in Venezuela and Chile, varying from three to 11 times less than for residents of the other seven countries. Although there are limitations in using hospital discharge data as a measure of incidence, the wide variation in the risk of hip fracture across the nine countries appears real but differences between North American and north European countries may not be as great as previously reported. Such cross-national comparisons may help clarify different etiologic hypotheses.

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