Osteoporosis is typically thought of as a “woman’s disease.” But a recent report published by the International Osteoporosis Foundation warns that, in certain circumstances, men may be at greater risk than women for potentially fatal bone health–related maladies.

The 24-page report, Osteoporosis in Men: Why Change Needs to Happen, explains that osteoporotic fractures affect 1 in 5 men over the age of 50. This risk is up to 27% higher than the 11.3% risk of developing prostate cancer, according the authors. And they believe things will only get worse. A study of 10,000 men in the United Kingdom showed a 7.2% increase in hip fractures among men from 2000 to 2012. What’s even more alarming is that hip fractures are associated with mortality rates as high as 37% in men within the first year after a fracture. This is double the rate seen in women, says the report.

How do men fare worldwide? Not well, the authors conclude. Here’s a roundup of some international numbers:

  • In the United States, hip fractures in men are expected to increase 51.8% from 2010 to 2030; hip fractures in women should decline by 3.5%.
  • By 2050, hip fractures in Argentinian men will increase to 13,000 cases per year, compared with 9,444 cases in 2009.
  • In Mexico, hip fractures in men will reach 11,700 in 2020 and 35,500 in 2050.
  • In 2010, 32,000 hip fractures occurred among men in the Russian Federation; that number is expected to climb to 43,700 by 2035.
  • Between 2002 and 2006, rates of hip fracture among men in Beijing increased by 49%.
  • Hip fractures in Japanese men rose from 13,500 in 1987 to 31,300 in 2007.

In light of these numbers, the report underscores the importance of delivering education and intervention measures to both sexes indiscriminately. The authors offer the following preventive suggestions:

  • Men should regularly participate in moderate-impact weight-bearing physical activity, high-impact training (e.g., 50–100 jumps) or related impact-loading sports for at least 30 minutes, 3–5 days per week.
  • Men should include muscle-strengthening exercises on at least 2 days per week. For maximum benefits, the program should be high intensity (60%–80% of peak capacity), become progressively more challenging over time, and target the major muscles around the hip and spine.
  • Where possible, men should be encouraged to participate in a multimodal exercise regimen (inclusive of weight-bearing/high-impact/high-intensity resistance exercise) at least three times per week.

To read the report in its entirety, visit http://share.iofbonehealth.org/WOD/2014/thematic-report/WOD14-Report.pdf.

Ryan Halvorson

Ryan Halvorson is an award-winning writer and editor. He is a long-time author and presenter for IDEA Health & Fitness Association, fitness industry consultant and former director of group training for Bird Rock Fit. He is also a Master Trainer for TriggerPoint.

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