Background Individuals with intellectual disability (ID) are known to have a high prevalence of both low bone mineral density (BMD) and fractures with significant attendant morbidity. Effective strategies aimed at reducing fractures will be facilitated by the identification of predisposing risk factors.
Methods Bone mineral density was measured by quantitative ultrasound of the calcaneus performed on 79 women and 132 men residing in a facility for adults with ID. Multiple variable logistic regression analysis was performed to determine the significance of risk factors for low BMD.
Results Mobility impairment consistently appeared to be a significant risk factor for low BMD regardless of age or sex and especially for middle-aged men with profound ID. Further risk was identified for postmenopausal women taking enzyme inducing anticonvulsant medications and middle-aged men who were either smokers or tended to be short. Hispanic followed by Caucasian origin also put middle-aged males at a greater risk than their African-American counterparts.
Conclusions Specific risk factors for low BMD, some of which have potential for modification, were identified in the study population. Targeted strategies for risk factor reduction may result in a decrease in the high rate of fractures among these individuals.