Objective: To assess the prevalence of osteoporosis in healthy ambulatory postmenopausal Indian women as measured by dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry and to study the dietary calcium intake and vitamin D status and their influence on bone mineral density (BMD).
Methods: We conducted a community-based cross-sectional study in a semiurban region. A randomized cluster sampling technique was used. The study cohort consisted of 150 ambulatory postmenopausal women (> or = 50 years old). Dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry for BMD was performed at the lumbar spine and femoral neck. Dietary calcium intake and biochemical variables were assessed.
Results: The prevalence of osteoporosis was 48% at the lumbar spine, 16.7% at the femoral neck, and 50% at any site. The mean dietary calcium intake was much lower than the recommended intake for this age-group. There was a significant positive correlation between body mass index and BMD at the lumbar spine and the femoral neck (r = 0.4; P = .0001). BMD at the femoral neck was significantly less (mean, 0.657 versus 0.694 g/cm(2)) in the vitamin D-insufficient study subjects in comparison with the vitamin D-sufficient women (P = .03).
Conclusion: The high prevalence of osteoporosis and vitamin D insufficiency in this semiurban group of postmenopausal women in India is a major health concern. Measures such as adequate calcium intake and vitamin D supplementation in women of this age-group may be beneficial.