To establish the reference values of the quantitative ultrasound (QUS) indices in healthy Japanese women and to propose a diagnostic criterion for osteoporosis by means of the QUS indices, 659 healthy women aged 20-79 years recruited from a larger cohort study (JPOS study), were examined for bone mass measurements by QUS at the calcaneus (SAHARA, Hologic Inc., USA) and by dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry at the spine, hip, and distal forearm. We presented 10-year age-specific mean values and T-scores of the QUS indices. The pattern of decrease in the T-score appeared to be linear in the QUS indices and total hip BMD but not in BMD at the spine. The T-score of the QUS of indices of the subjects in their 70s were significantly higher than that of BMD at the spine. The prevalence rates of osteoporosis in the subjects aged 50 and older diagnosed by QUS (8.7% for SOS, 10.7% for BUA) were similar to that diagnosed by total hip BMD (11.5%) and significantly lower than that by the spine BMD (36.1%) when the WHO criteria were applied. We performed receiver-operating characteristic analysis to set a cutoff level of the QUS indices for the diagnosis of osteoporosis to accurately identify the subjects diagnosed by either the spine or total hip BMD. The highest likelihood ratios for SOS and BUA were obtained at the cutoff levels of 1,517.7 m/sec (T-score: -1.58) with the sensitivity of 0.65 and the specificity of 0.65 and 59.5 dB/MHz (T-score: -1.52) with 0.66 and 0.69, respectively. The diagnostic accuracy of QUS indices for osteoporosis was not superior to that of age. However, the QUS indices showed a significant contribution to forming the diagnosis of osteoporosis independently of age and body size in multivariate diagnostic models developed by the logistic regression analysis. Therefore, the cutoff values presented in this study may be used as a tentative criterion until the cutoff levels for the QUS indices are set according to the fracture risk.