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Skip Navigation U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Agency for Healthcare Research Quality

Screening for Osteoporosis

U.S. Preventive Services Task Force

Release Date: September 2002

Summary of Recommendations / Supporting Documents

Summary of Recommendations

  • The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommends that women aged 65 and older be screened routinely for osteoporosis. The USPSTF recommends that routine screening begin at age 60 for women at increased risk for osteoporotic fractures (go to Clinical Considerations for discussion of women at increased risk).

    Rating: "B" recommendation.

    Rationale: The USPSTF found good evidence that the risk for osteoporosis and fracture increases with age and other factors, that bone density measurements accurately predict the risk for fractures in the short-term, and that treating asymptomatic women with osteoporosis reduces their risk for fracture. The USPSTF concludes that the benefits of screening and treatment are of at least moderate magnitude for women at increased risk by virtue of age or presence of other risk factors.
  • The USPSTF makes no recommendation for or against routine osteoporosis screening in postmenopausal women who are younger than 60 or in women aged 60-64 who are not at increased risk for osteoporotic fractures.

    Rating: "C" recommendation.

    Rationale: The USPSTF found fair evidence that screening women at lower risk for osteoporosis or fracture can identify additional women who may be eligible for treatment for osteoporosis, but it would prevent a small number of fractures. The USPSTF concludes that the balance of benefits and harms of screening and treatment is too close to make a general recommendation for this age group.

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Supporting Documents

Screening for Osteoporosis, September 2002

Recommendations and Rationale (PDF File, 84 KB; PDF Help)
Summary of the Evidence (PDF File, 162 KB; PDF Help)
Systematic Evidence Review (PDF Files Download)
What's New from the USPSTF (PDF File, 76 KB; PDF Help)

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Current as of September 2002

Internet Citation:

Screening for Osteoporosis, Topic Page. September 2002. U.S. Preventive Services Task Force. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD.


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