Journal Article

Higher Bone Mineral Density in Rural Compared with Urban Dwellers

H. E. Meyer, G. K. R. Berntsen, A. J. Søgaard, A. Langhammer, B. Schei, V. Fønnebø, S. Forsmo and G. S. Tell

in American Journal of Epidemiology

Published on behalf of Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health

Volume 160, issue 11, pages 1039-1046
Published in print December 2004 | ISSN: 0002-9262
Published online December 2004 | e-ISSN: 1476-6256 | DOI:
Higher Bone Mineral Density in Rural Compared with Urban Dwellers

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Norway has a very high incidence of osteoporotic fractures, with substantial regional differences in fracture incidence. The present study evaluated whether there are differences in bone mineral density (BMD) between regions in Norway with differences in fracture incidence. The authors used data collected in four large, population-based, multipurpose studies performed in four regions of Norway during 1994–2001. Distal forearm BMD was measured by single energy x-ray absorptiometry in 10,667 participants aged 40–75 years. Cross-calibration was performed by using the European Forearm Phantom. Mean distal forearm BMD was lower in the urban populations of Tromsø, Oslo, and Bergen compared with the rural county of Nord-Trøndelag, whereas there was no difference between the rural part of Tromsø and Nord-Trøndelag. For women, body mass index explained some of these differences. The prevalence of low BMD (z score ≤ –1) in Oslo, Bergen, and urban Tromsø, compared with Nord-Trøndelag, was 1.6–1.7 times higher in men and 1.5–2.0 times higher in women, whereas no significant difference was found between rural Tromsø and Nord-Trøndelag. In this study, higher BMD was found in rural compared with urban areas of Norway, which might help explain the differences in fracture incidence. There was no apparent north-south gradient in BMD.

Keywords: bone density; cross-sectional studies; densitometry; forearm; fractures; men; osteoporosis; women; Abbreviations: BMD, bone mineral density; CI, confidence interval.

Journal Article.  4242 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Public Health and Epidemiology

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