Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Bone Health and Outcomes in the United States

Academic Article


  • Osteoporosis is a bone disease classified by deterioration of bone microarchitecture and decreased bone strength, thereby increasing subsequent risk of fracture. In the United States, approximately 54 million adults aged 50 years and older have osteoporosis or are at risk due to low bone mass. Osteoporosis has long been viewed as a chronic health condition affecting primarily non-Hispanic white (NHW) women; however, emerging evidence indicates racial and ethnic disparities in bone outcomes and osteoporosis management. The primary objective of this review is to describe disparities in bone mineral density (BMD), prevalence of osteoporosis and fracture, as well as in screening and treatment of osteoporosis among non-Hispanic black (NHB), Hispanic, and Asian adults compared with NHW adults living on the US mainland. The following areas were reviewed: BMD, osteoporosis prevalence, fracture prevalence and incidence, postfracture outcomes, DXA screening, and osteoporosis treatments. Although there are limited studies on bone and fracture outcomes within Asian and Hispanic populations, findings suggest that there are differences in bone outcomes across NHW, NHB, Asian, and Hispanic populations. Further, NHB, Asian, and Hispanic populations may experience suboptimal osteoporosis management and postfracture care, although additional population-based studies are needed. There is also evidence that variation in BMD and osteoporosis exists within major racial and ethnic groups, highlighting the need for research in individual groups by origin or background. Although there is a clear need to prioritize future quantitative and qualitative research in these populations, initial strategies for addressing bone health disparities are discussed. © 2021 American Society for Bone and Mineral Research (ASBMR).
  • Authors

    Published In

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Noel SE; Santos MP; Wright NC
  • Start Page

  • 1881
  • End Page

  • 1905
  • Volume

  • 36
  • Issue

  • 10