Osteoporosis prevention, diagnosis, and therapy

NIH Consens Statement. 2000 Mar 27-29;17(1):1-45.


Objective: The objective of this NIH Consensus Statement is to inform the biomedical research and clinical practice communities of the results of the NIH Consensus Development Conference on Osteoporosis Prevention, Diagnosis, and Therapy. The statement provides state-of-the-art information and presents the conclusions and recommendations of the consensus panel regarding these issues. In addition, the statement identifies those areas of study that deserve further investigation. The target audience of clinicians for this statement includes, but is not limited to, family practitioners, internists, gerontologists, orthopaedic surgeons, rheumatologists, obstetricians and gynecologists, and preventive medicine specialisits.

Participants: A nonfederal, nonadvocate, 13-member panel representing the fields of internal medicine, family and community medicine, endocrinology, epidemiology, orthopaedic surgery, gerontology, rheumatology, obstetrics and gynecology, preventive medicine, and cell biology. In addition, 32 experts from these same fields presented data to the panel and a conference audience of approximately 700.

Evidence: The literature was searched using MEDLINE and an extensive bibliography of references was provided to the panel. Experts prepared abstracts for their conference presentations with relevant citations from the literature. Scientific evidence was given precedence over clinical anecdotal experience.

Consensus process: The panel, answering predefined questions, developed their conclusions based on the scientific evidence presented in open forum and the scientific literature. The panel composed a draft statement, which was read in its entirety and circulated to the experts and the audience for comment. Thereafter, the panel resolved conflicting recommendations and released a revised statement at the end of the conference. The panel finalized the revisions within a few weeks after the conference. The draft statement was made available on the World Wide Web immediately following its release at the conference and was updated with the panel's final revisions.

Conclusions: Osteoporosis occurs in all populations and at all ages. Though more prevalent in white postmenopausal females, it often goes unrecognized in other populations. Osteoporosis is a devastating disorder with significant physical, psychosocial, and financial consequences. The risks for osteoporosis, as reflected by low bone density, and the risks for fracture overlap but are not identical. More attention should be paid to skeletal health in persons with conditions known to be associated with secondary osteoporosis. Clinical risk factors have an important, but as yet poorly validated, role in determining who should have BMD measurement, in assessing risk of fracture, and in determining who should be treated. Adequate calcium and vitamin D intake are crucial to develop optimal peak bone mass and to preserve bone mass throughout life. Supplementation of these two components in bioavailable forms may be necessary in individuals who do not achieve recommended intake from dietary sources. Gonadal steroids are important determinants of peak and lifetime bone mass in men, women, and children. Regular exercise, especially resistance and high-impact activities, contributes to development of high peak bone mass and may reduce the risk of falls in older individuals. Assessment of bone mass, identification of fracture risk, and determination of who should be treated are the optimal goals when evaluating patients for osteoporosis. Fracture prevention is the primary goal in the treatment of patients with osteoporosis. Several treatments have been shown to reduce the risk of osteoporotic fractures. These include therapies that enhance bone mass and reduce risk or consequences of falls. Adults with vertebral, rib, hip, or distal forearm fractures should be evaluated for the presence of osteoporosis and given appropriate therapy.

Publication types

  • Consensus Development Conference
  • Consensus Development Conference, NIH
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Bone Density
  • Calcium / therapeutic use
  • Child
  • Cost of Illness
  • Diphosphonates / therapeutic use
  • Estrogen Replacement Therapy
  • Evidence-Based Medicine
  • Female
  • Forecasting
  • Fractures, Bone / economics
  • Fractures, Bone / epidemiology
  • Fractures, Bone / etiology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Needs Assessment
  • Osteoporosis / diagnosis*
  • Osteoporosis / economics
  • Osteoporosis / epidemiology
  • Osteoporosis / etiology
  • Osteoporosis / therapy*
  • Primary Prevention / methods
  • Research / organization & administration
  • Risk Factors
  • Selective Estrogen Receptor Modulators / therapeutic use
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Diphosphonates
  • Selective Estrogen Receptor Modulators
  • Calcium