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Bone Health in Women

Fitness professionals have to be aware of just how great the osteoporotic fracture risk is for women. Worldwide, osteoporosis affects 200 million women, and the lifetime risk of a hip fracture is 1 in 6, compared with 1 in 9 for breast cancer (IOF 2017).

The risk for postmenopausal women is even higher. Most fractures occur in postmenopausal women, and the lifetime fracture risk for a 50-year-old woman with osteoporosis is as high as 60% (IOF 2017; Karaguzel & Holick 2010). To frame it another way: A woman’s risk of hip fracture is equal to her combined risks of breast, uterine and ovarian cancer (NOF 2016).

When working with clients who have had a previous fracture, it is important to know that 1 in 5 women with a vertebral fracture will experience a second one within 1 year (Karaguzel & Holick 2010). Thus, program development should prioritize avoiding the second fracture.

Most fitness pros have female clients, and some even specialize in working with postmenopausal clients. Thus, staying aware of the increased fracture risk puts you in a good position, not only to educate clients about the risk, but also to provide them with workouts that prioritize bone health as well as muscle mass.

To read more about the workings of the skeleton and the risks of bone loss, please see “Bone Health: A Primer” in the online IDEA Library or in the June 2018 print issue of IDEA Fitness Journal. If you cannot access the full article and would like to, please contact the IDEA Inspired Service Team at (800) 999-4332, ext. 7.


IOF (International Osteoporosis Foundation). 2017. Facts and statistics. Accessed Mar. 3, 2018: iofbonehealth.org/facts-statistics.

Karaguzel, G., & Holick, M.F. 2010. Diagnosis and treatment of osteopenia. Reviews in Endocrine and Metabolic Disorders, 11 (4), 237–51.

NOF (National Osteoporosis Foundation). 2016. Accessed Mar. 19, 2018: nof.org.

Maria Luque, PhD, MS, CHES

Maria Luque, PhD, is a health educator, fitness expert, presenter, writer and USAF veteran. She created Fitness in Menopause, a company dedicated to helping women navigate the challenges and rewards of menopause. Her course “Menopausal Fitness: Training the Menopausal Client” is NASM-, AFAA- and ACE- accredited. She holds graduate and postgraduate degrees in health sciences and teaches at the College of Health and Human Services at Trident University International.

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