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Abstract

Our study investigated bone mineral density of the proximal femur and ultradistal and proximal radius in a population of elderly men and women. The Framingham study started in 1948, following a population-based sample for evaluation of cardiovascular risk factors and events. During the 20th biennial Framingham examination (1988–89) we conducted the Framingham osteoporosis study, measuring bone mineral density in the proximal femur and distal and proximal radius for 1154 study participants. Ages ranged from 68 to 98 years, with a mean age of 76 years. Bone mineral density was measured using Lunar SP2 and DP3 densitometers. This cross-sectional study evaluates mean bone mineral density measurements at each site by 5 year age intervals for men and women, testing for trends in bone density with age. Analyses were repeated adjusting for weight and height. Among the 446 and 708 women, bone mineral density of the femur and bone mineral content of the proximal radius were inversely and significantly related to age in both sexes and were considerably higher in men than women at all sites. The linear decline with age group in our cross-sectional study remained after multivariate adjustment for height and weight. The ultradistal radius showed no significant correlation with age for either sex. There were significant correlations between the bone measurements made at different sites for both men and women (range in r = 0.27–0.89). Cross-sectional curves of bone mineral density with age showed no significant differences in slope between males and females. In this cross-sectional study, we found that increased age was significantly associated with decreased bone mass in a linear and equivalent fashion for both men and women through the elderly years in the proximal femur and proximal radius.