Osteoporosis, a disease characterized by low bone mass, microarchitectural deterioration of bone, and susceptibility to bone fractures, can lead to debilitating pain and deformity. The disease represents a major health problem, particularly in older women. Approximately 1.5 million people in the United States suffer osteoporosis-related fractures annually, and many never gain full recovery. The direct annual health expenditures related to osteoporosis fractures were estimated at $13.3 billion in 1994, but quality of life costs related to osteoporosis are even more profound. Identifying people at risk for osteoporosis and early treatment can minimize its destructive effects. Nurses play an important role in the development of strategies to reduce the incidence of osteoporosis and osteoporosis-related fractures, pain, and deformity to help older adults lead healthy, productive lives in their later years.