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Proc Soc Exp Biol Med. 1992 Jun;200(2):149-52.

Comparison of osteoporosis and calcium intake between Japan and the United States.

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National Sanatorium Hyogo Chuo Hospital, Japan.


The number of osteoporotic females in Japan with vertebral bone mineral density measured by dual energy x-ray absorptiometry, defined as less than -3 SD of the peak bone mass, is approximately 10,000,000, corresponding to 8% of the whole population of Japan. While this value approximately corresponds to the prevalence of low bone mineral density in the United States, the incidence of hip fracture appears to be much less in Japan than in the United States, 50,000 per 125,000,000 per year compared with 250,000 for a population twice as large. This seems to be paradoxical because of the lower bone mineral density and lower calcium intake in Japan, with 400-500 mg/day mainly as soybean products, small fish with bones, and vegetables. The difference in hip fracture incidence, however, may not actually be as wide as it seems when the larger number of bedridden elderly subjects in Japan is taken into consideration. In these bedridden subjects with severe immobilization osteoporosis, hip fracture is only prevented by the fact that they are not ambulatory. Life-style difference may also offer an explanation. Sitting on a tatami mattress on completely flexed knees with frequent standing up, along with other household work, in a narrow home space may ensure a marked development of hip musculature and also provide skill in balancing oneself to prevent fails. The difference in fracture incidence should be analyzed from various angles to obtain a firm ground for the future prevention of hip fracture due to osteoporosis. Although osteoporosis universally affects all races and nationalities, conspicuous differences may be encountered in the severity of its manifestations and complications.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS).

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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