In the last few years, I have been reporting about the decreased rates of osteoporotic fracture in the US, Canada, and other highly industrialized countries. I have also noted that these reductions are not due to the use of osteoporosis drugs. New data from Denmark confirms the same positive trend in this Scandinavian country.
Between 1997 and 2006 the hip fracture incidence rate in Denmark declined by 20% in men and 22% in women. During this same time period, use of osteoporosis drugs increased only 1.8% in women and 0.2% in men aged 60+.
As the investigators report, the number of prevented hip fractures that could be attributed to drug therapy was only 1.3% in men and 3.7% in women.
So what’s behind Denmark’s drop in hip fractures?
Well, researchers are still scratching their heads, but my vote would be increased awareness about — and use of — vitamin D. As I noted in a 2009 medical journal publication, there is good data to suggest that fracture rates worldwide could be reduced by 50% if everyone were to achieve a minimum 32 ng/mL vitamin D blood level.
I’m going to keep an eye out for even more research.
Abrahamsen, B and Vestergaard, P. 2010. Declining incidence of hip fractures and the extent of use of anti-osteoporotic therapy in Denmark 1997-2006. Osteoporosis International, 21:373-80.
Brown, Susan E. 2008. Vitamin D and fracture reduction: An evaluation of the existing research. Alternative Medicine Review, 13(1).