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The aim of this study was to investigate the osteoporosis prevalence and the risks of postmenopausal women and elderly men in Gansu province.This cross-sectional study involved 3359 postmenopausal women and 3205 elderly males who were randomly selected from 7 areas in Gansu province. Areal bone mineral density (BMD) (g/cm2) was measured at the distal one-third radius of the nonstressed forearm using dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA: Osteometer MediTech). Factors related to osteoporosis were analyzed.The prevalence of osteoporosis in the entire study population was 9.65% for postmenopausal women and 8.08% for elderly males by WHO criteria, while the rate of osteopenia were 27.09% for postmenopausal women and 26.68% for elderly males. Risk of osteoporosis was significantly associated with age, menopause age, duration of menopause, body mass index (BMI), educational level, and alcohol consumption in postmenopausal women. In elderly men, age, BMI, current smoking, alcohol consumption, physical activity, and sun exposure were associated with osteoporosis. The bone turnover markers osteocalcin (OC) and C-terminal cross-linked telopeptides of type I collagen (β-CTX) were inversely correlated with BMD in both genders; serum P and 25(OH)D found no significant correlation with BMD. Serum Ca showed a positive effect on BMD in elderly men only.The osteoporosis prevalence of postmenopausal women and the men aged over 60 years in Gansu province is presented. Risk of osteoporosis was significantly associated with age, menopause age, year since menopause, BMI, and educational level in postmenopausal women. In elderly men, age, BMI, and current smoking were associated with osteoporosis. This study also found that higher OC and β-CTX level were associated with lower BMD. Poor 25(OH)D, Ca, P status were not associated with an increased risk of low BMD.