Racial differences in the prevalence of vertebral fractures in older men: the Baltimore Men's Osteoporosis Study

Osteoporos Int. 2006 Jan;17(1):99-104. doi: 10.1007/s00198-005-1919-z. Epub 2005 Aug 18.


Older black men have higher adjusted bone mineral density (BMD) and a lower adjusted rate of decline in hip BMD than older white men. There are few published data on the prevalence of morphometric vertebral fractures in older white men and no published data for older black men. The study's objective was to estimate the prevalence of vertebral fractures in older men and explore differences in prevalence between older white and black men. Subjects included five hundred forty-two men (415 white and 127 black) aged 65 and above (mean age of 74.0+/-5.7 years) participating in the longitudinal component of the Baltimore Men's Osteoporosis Study. Radiographs of the thoracic and lumbar spine were obtained using standard protocols and read for the presence of vertebral deformities using binary semiquantitative techniques. Quantitative morphometry was performed and vertebral fractures were defined using the Melton-Eastell method. BMD was measured at the femoral neck, total hip and lumbar spine. Participants also completed self- and interviewer-administered questionnaires and underwent standardized clinical examinations. One or more vertebral fractures were present in 30 of 514 men with available radiographs: estimated prevalence 5.8% (95% confidence intervals [CI]: 4.0, 8.3%). Prevalence was significantly higher in white than black men, 7.3% vs 0.9% (Fishers' exact p =0.01): age-adjusted odds ratio=8.3 (95% CI: 1.1, 62.5). Among white men, there was no significant difference in age-adjusted femoral neck or total hip BMD or frequency or severity of back pain between men with and without vertebral fractures. In conclusion, older white men have a higher prevalence of vertebral fractures than older black men. This may be related to differences in BMD between these groups.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Anthropometry
  • Baltimore / epidemiology
  • Black or African American / statistics & numerical data*
  • Bone Density
  • Femur Neck / physiopathology
  • Hip / physiopathology
  • Humans
  • Lumbar Vertebrae / physiopathology
  • Male
  • Osteoporosis / complications
  • Osteoporosis / ethnology*
  • Osteoporosis / physiopathology
  • Prevalence
  • Spinal Fractures / ethnology*
  • Spinal Fractures / etiology
  • Spinal Fractures / physiopathology
  • White People / statistics & numerical data*