Risk factors for 5-year prospective height loss among postmenopausal women

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Height loss is common in older women and has been associated with increased morbidity and mortality. In this study, we identified factors that could predict prospective height loss in postmenopausal women.


Height was measured in 1,024 postmenopausal women, enrolled in the Buffalo Osteoporosis and Periodontal Disease Study, at baseline and 5 years later using a fixed stadiometer. Demographics, lifestyle, medical history, and medication use were assessed at baseline. Stepwise logistic regression was used to identify factors that are associated with marked height loss of ≥1 inch. Odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were estimated for each predictor. Receiver-operating characteristic (ROC) curve was performed to determine the discriminatory ability of the prediction model.


The mean loss of height was 0.4 (SD 0.7) inches. Age (OR 1.11, 95% CI 1.06-1.16), weight (OR 1.05, 95% CI 1.03-1.07), use of oral corticosteroids (OR 4.96, 95% CI 1.25-19.72), and strenuous exercise at age 18 ≥ three times per week (OR 0.55, 95% CI 0.31-0.98) were significantly associated with marked height loss in the multivariable-adjusted model. The area under the ROC curve is 72.1%. Addition of bone mineral density measures did not improve the discriminatory ability of the prediction model.


This set of available variables may be useful in predicting the 5-year risk of height loss of 1 inch or more in postmenopausal women. These findings may help to target older women at risk of height loss who may benefit most from prevention strategies for fracture and mortality.

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