Is it time to consider population screening for fracture risk in postmenopausal women? A position paper from the International Osteoporosis Foundation Epidemiology/Quality of Life Working Group

Arch Osteoporos. 2022 Jun 28;17(1):87. doi: 10.1007/s11657-022-01117-6.


The IOF Epidemiology and Quality of Life Working Group has reviewed the potential role of population screening for high hip fracture risk against well-established criteria. The report concludes that such an approach should strongly be considered in many health care systems to reduce the burden of hip fractures.

Introduction: The burden of long-term osteoporosis management falls on primary care in most healthcare systems. However, a wide and stable treatment gap exists in many such settings; most of which appears to be secondary to a lack of awareness of fracture risk. Screening is a public health measure for the purpose of identifying individuals who are likely to benefit from further investigations and/or treatment to reduce the risk of a disease or its complications. The purpose of this report was to review the evidence for a potential screening programme to identify postmenopausal women at increased risk of hip fracture.

Methods: The approach took well-established criteria for the development of a screening program, adapted by the UK National Screening Committee, and sought the opinion of 20 members of the International Osteoporosis Foundation's Working Group on Epidemiology and Quality of Life as to whether each criterion was met (yes, partial or no). For each criterion, the evidence base was then reviewed and summarized.

Results and conclusion: The report concludes that evidence supports the proposal that screening for high fracture risk in primary care should strongly be considered for incorporation into many health care systems to reduce the burden of fractures, particularly hip fractures. The key remaining hurdles to overcome are engagement with primary care healthcare professionals, and the implementation of systems that facilitate and maintain the screening program.

Keywords: Cost-effectiveness; FRAX; Fracture risk; Screening; Treatment.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Female
  • Hip Fractures* / epidemiology
  • Hip Fractures* / prevention & control
  • Humans
  • Mass Screening / methods
  • Osteoporosis* / diagnosis
  • Osteoporosis* / epidemiology
  • Postmenopause
  • Quality of Life