Osteoporotic fracture has a major impact upon health, both in terms of acute and long term disability and economic cost. Peak bone mass, achieved in early adulthood, is a major determinant of osteoporosis risk in later life. Poor early growth predicts reduced bone mass, and so risk of fracture in later life. Maternal lifestyle, body build and 25(OH) vitamin D status predict offspring bone mass. Recent work has suggested epigenetic mechanisms as key to these observations. This review will explore the role of the early environment in determining later osteoporotic fracture risk.
Keywords: bone mass; early life origins; epigenetic; fetus; fracture; neonate; osteoporosis; vitamin D.