- Famine exposure in fetal, early, and midchildhood may be associated with up to 4-fold risk for postmenopausal osteoporosis, according to a population-based cohort.
Why this matters
- Famine may be a risk factor for osteoporosis.
- Calcium and vitamin D supplementation may be considered for famine-exposed children.
- Population-based cohort of 2292 participants aged ≥40 years who were born in Fujian Province, where there was a famine in 1959-1961.
- Famine exposure was based on age.
- Osteoporosis was measured by quantitative ultrasound (QUS), using a T-score threshold of −1.8. This threshold was selected because age-related decline in QUS measurements is almost half that seen for bone mineral density (BMD) measures performed by dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DEXA).
- Funding: National Key Program of China; others.
- Postmenopausal women with early-life famine exposure (vs unexposed) are at increased risk for osteoporosis:
- Fetal exposed: aOR, 3.741 (P=.021).
- Early childhood exposed: aOR, 2.894 (P=.055).
- Midchildhood exposed: aOR, 4.699 (P=.004).
- The prevalence of possible vertebral fracture (a loss of 2 cm height during a 3-year prospective period) was 15% among fetal-exposed, 12.9% among early-childhood-exposed, 15% among midchildhood-exposed, and 10.6% among unexposed participants.
- Control group not age-matched.
- No validation of definition of osteoporosis.
- Absence of statistics or radiographic confirmation of vertebral fracture.