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J Bone Miner Metab. 2010;28(1):88-93. doi: 10.1007/s00774-009-0108-0. Epub 2009 Jul 4.

High weight or body mass index increase the risk of vertebral fractures in postmenopausal osteoporotic women.

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  • 1Unit of Internal Medicine, Angiology and Arteriosclerosis Diseases, Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, University of Perugia, Hospital "Santa Maria della Misericordia", Piazzale Menghini 1, 06129 Perugia, Italy.


In the general population, low body weight and body mass index (BMI) are significant risk factors for any fracture, but the specific association between body weight, BMI, and prevalence of vertebral fractures in osteoporotic women is not fully recognized. Hence, the association between body weight, BMI, and prevalent vertebral fractures was investigated in 362 women with never-treated postmenopausal osteoporosis. All participants underwent measurement of BMI, bone mineral density (BMD), and semiquantitative assessment of vertebral fractures. Thirty percent of participants had > or =1 vertebral fracture. Body weight and BMI were associated with L1-L4 BMD (R = 0.29, P < 0.001 and R = 0.17, P = 0.009, respectively). In logistic regression analysis, BMI was positively associated with the presence of vertebral fractures independent of age and other traditional risk factors for fractures. Including weight and height instead of BMI in the multivariate model, showed weight as a positive and significant covariate of the presence of vertebral fractures (OR = 1.045; P = 0.016; 95% CI 1.008-1.084). BMI was associated with the number of vertebral fractures (rho = 0.18; P = 0.001), this association being confirmed also in the multivariate analysis (beta = 0.14; P = 0.03) after correction for smoking, early menopause, family history of fragility fractures and BMD. In conclusion, among postmenopausal women with osteoporosis, body weight and BMI are associated with a higher likelihood of having a vertebral fracture, irrespective of the positive association between weight and BMD.

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