News Release

May 29, 2008

Contact: Chris DeFrancesco, 860-679-3914

Connecticut’s Osteoporosis Risk Among Highest in U.S.

Analysis Based on CDC Survey of Women 50 and Older

FARMINGTON, CONN. – Connecticut’s women are more likely to be at high risk for osteoporosis than their counterparts in any other state in the continental United States, researchers reported in a recent edition of the Journal of Bone and Mineral Research.

The study authors, from Maryland, analyzed age and weight statistics to estimate state-specific prevalence of postmenopausal osteoporosis. They consider 11.5 percent of Connecticut’s female population to be at high risk, second only to Hawaii (14 percent). Combining high and moderate risk, Connecticut ranks third, at 68 percent, behind Hawaii and Rhode Island.

Osteoporosis is a progressive disease characterized by diminishing bone mass and strength, making bones more prone to fractures, often in the hip, spine and wrist. It can be most accurately diagnosed by a bone density test and it is treatable with drugs. A healthy diet with adequate calcium and vitamin D and weight-bearing exercise can reduce risk and improve bone health.

“Osteoporosis is usually undetected until a bone breaks, so it’s hard to really say how many people indeed have it,” says Jo-Anne Smith, M.D., clinical director of the UConn Center for Osteoporosis at the University of Connecticut Health Center. “It’s not realistic to expect everybody in Connecticut to go for a bone density test, but this study at the very least suggests a way to get a sense of how prevalent osteoporosis may be in our population. Other studies have given us guidelines to select high-risk people for bone density testing.”

“While assessing projected incidence in this manner is far from an exact science, the spirit of the message can’t be ignored,” says Lawrence G. Raisz, M.D., director of the UConn Center for Osteoporosis. “Knowing that our population is at high risk should motivate older women to get screened, and younger women to take preventive steps to maintain bone health now so they don’t add themselves to these statistics later in life.”

The UConn Center for Osteoporosis recommends women get bone density screenings starting at age 65, or earlier if they have a family history of osteoporosis, have suffered a fracture as an adult, have a thin frame, smoke, or are on medications that can cause bone loss.

“Men also are at risk for osteoporosis, as they are now living longer,” says Pamela Taxel, M.D. “Men older than 70 should at least talk to their physician about their risks and a bone density test.”

The Journal of Bone and Mineral Research article is available at

More information about the UConn Center for Osteoporosis is available at Office locations are in Farmington and East Hartford. The phone numbers to schedule an appointment are 860-679-2160 or 800-535-6232.

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