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Calcif Tissue Int. 1996 Oct;59(4):249-53.

Prevalence of vertebral fractures in chinese men and women in urban Taiwanese communities.

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Department of Laboratory Medicine, National Taiwan University Hospital, Taiwan #7 Chung-Shan South Road Taipei, Taiwan, ROC 10016 ROC.


Reports on the prevalence (or incidence) rates of vertebral fracture have been available, but they are limited concerning non-white populations and men of all races. This study used the radiomorphometric method to survey the prevalence rate of vertebral fracture for ethnic Chinese women 40 years and older and Chinese men 65 and older who were randomly selected from four major cities in Taiwan. Three sets of reference values of the height ratios were used for middle-aged women, elderly women, and elderly men. The results showed that in Chinese women, the prevalence rate of vertebral fracture was low before age 50 and showed a steady increase thereafter. In men, the increase was small until age 80. The overall adjusted prevalence rate of vertebral fracture for women older than 65 was 20% and that for men, 12.5% (95% confidence interval 18-22% and 11-14%, respectively.) If only severe deformity was counted [height ratio lower than normal mean minus 4 standard deviations (SD), or Grade II deformity], the adjusted prevalence rate was 15.5% for elderly women and 9.5% for elderly men (95% confidence interval 14-17%, and 8-11%, respectively.) The overall adjusted prevalence rate for women aged 40 and over was 6.8% (95% confidence interval 5.7-8%), or 4.5% (95% confidence interval 3.6-5. 5%) for Grade II lesions. Moreover, for subjects with fracture, elderly women tended to have more fractured vertebrae per person and more Grade II fractures than elderly men. Thus, Chinese women residing in cities of Taiwan had a relatively high prevalence rate of vertebral fracture, a finding compatible with that for United States or European white women, or for Japanese women residing in America. Elderly Chinese men also have a high prevalence rate of vertebral fracture. The age-specific female-to-male ratio of prevalence rate was about 1.5 to 2.3 between age 65 and 80, and close to unity after age 80.

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