Context: Osteoporosis is characterized by low bone mineral density (BMD) and has been thought to only be a major health concern for postmenopausal women. However, osteoporosis and its risk factors have been greatly understudied in the middle-aged and male populations.
Objectives: To assess the likelihood of low BMD and its association with related risk factors in early–middle-aged (defined in this study as 35-50 years) men and women.
Methods: Eligible men and women completed a questionnaire assessing calcium intake, hours per week of exercise, and other related risk factors associated with osteoporosis and osteopenia. The primary outcome variable, BMD, was attained using dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry scans taken at the femoral neck, trochanter, intertrochanteric crest, total femur, and lumbar spine.
Results: Of the 173 participants in this study, 23 men (28%) and 24 women (26%) had osteopenia at the femoral neck. In men, there was a significant and negative correlation between exercise and femoral neck BMD (r=−0.296, P=.01). In women, correlation analyses showed significant positive correlations between exercise and BMD of the trochanter (r=0.329, P=.003), intertrochanteric crest (r=0.285, P=.01), total femur (r=0.30, P=.01), and lumbar spine (r=0.29, P=.01).
Conclusions: Osteopenia was found in more than 25% of both male and female participants, which suggests that more osteoporosis screening and prevention programs need to be targeted to persons in the studied age group because osteopenia can lead to osteoporosis.