Osteoporosis is a global problem with an expected increase in fracture prevalence and public health burden as the world's population ages. Although excess mortality is well-described in those with low bone mineral density as well as those with recent hip and vertebral fractures, some uncertainty remains about whether this link is causal. Survival depends greatly on the fracture types, age, gender, and race. Deaths are predominately due to comorbidities, but may also be attributed to the fracture event itself, either directly or indirectly. The goal of osteoporosis care is prevention of fractures and ultimately reduction in morbidity and mortality. Until recently, there have been no data showing that osteoporosis treatment improves mortality, and even now the extent of these data are rather limited. Large observational cohort studies over considerable time are needed to determine whether improving osteoporosis quality of care will improve mortality rates. © Copyright Clinical and Experimental Rheumatology 2008.