The bone mineral mass was measured in 324 residents of the city of Malmö, Sweden, by dual energy roentgen absorptiometry (DEXA) using the Lunar DPX equipment--total body, hip, and lumbar vertebrae. The bone mineral content of the wrist was also measured with single photon absorptiometry (SPA) in 88 of the individuals. Weight, height, and vertebral height, as well as body fat, lean body mass, menarcheal age, menopausal age, and hand grip strength were determined. Measurements were compared with reference bone mineral content values from the United States, Japan, and France--also hip fracture incidence was compared. All bone mineral values decreased with age. A good correlation was found between the DEXA technique of total body bone mineral and the forearm SPA values. The bone mineral content was correlated with lean body mass and weight. The Malmö bone mineral content was on the same level as in the United States, but higher than in Japan and France. The comparatively high risk of fragility fractures in the Scandinavian countries compared with most other settings cannot be explained by low bone mass.