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Prevalence and diagnosis experience of osteoporosis in postmenopausal women over 50: Focusing on socioeconomic factors

Min Hyeok Choi 1Ji Hee Yang 2Jae Seung Seo 3Yoon-Ji Kim 1Suk-Woong Kang 3

PLoS One. 2021 Mar 2;16(3):e0248020.

 doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0248020. eCollection 2021


Osteoporosis is the most common disease of the musculoskeletal system in old age. Therefore, research on osteoporosis risk factors is actively being conducted. However, whether socioeconomic inequality is associated with the prevalence and diagnosis experience of osteoporosis remains largely unexplored. This study aims to investigate whether socioeconomic inequality can be a risk factor for osteoporosis in postmenopausal women. Cross-sectional data of 1,477 postmenopausal women aged over 50 obtained from the Korea National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey V-2 were analyzed. Univariate analyses were performed to calculate the prevalence of osteoporosis and the rate of osteoporosis diagnosis experience according to the risk factor categories. Multivariate logistic regression analysis was performed to identify the independent variables’ associations with osteoporosis prevalence and diagnosis experience. The prevalence of osteoporosis was 34.8%, while the diagnosis experience rate was 22.1%. The higher the age, the higher the probability of osteoporosis presence and diagnosis experience. The lowest household income level was associated with a 1.63 times higher risk of osteoporosis. On the contrary, this factor was not significant for diagnosis experience. These results were similar for the 50-59 and 60-69 age groups. Among postmenopausal women, those who are older and have low socioeconomic levels are at a high risk of developing osteoporosis. Moreover, the lower the socioeconomic level, the lower the awareness of osteoporosis. Therefore, there is a need to develop more proactive preventive measures in postmenopausal women with low socioeconomic levels.