The objectives of the present study were to estimate 10 year probabilities of osteoporotic fractures in men and women according to age and bone mineral density (BMD) at the femoral neck. Risks were computed from the incidence of a first hip, distal forearm, proximal humerus and symptomatic vertebral fracture from patient records in Malmö, Sweden and future mortality rates for each year of age from Poisson models using the Swedish patient register and statistical year book. Fracture probability was computed using the Swedish population and cut-off values for T-scores based on the NHANES III female population. We assumed that the risk of fracture increased with decreasing BMD as assessed by meta-analysis in independent studies. The 10-year probability of any fracture was determined from the proportion of individuals fracture-free from the age of 45 years. With the exception of forearm fractures in men, 10 year probabilities increased with age and T-score. In the case of hip and spine fractures, fracture probabilities for any age with low BMD were similar between men and women. The effect of age on risk independently of BMD suggests that intervention thresholds should not be at a fixed T-score but vary according to absolute probabilities. Intervention thresholds based on hip BMD T-scores are similar between sexes.