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Recent epidemiological studies suggest a similar overall prevalence of vertebral deformity in men to that in women, though the influence of increasing age on the prevalence of vertebral deformity is less marked in men. However, most affected men have only a single or two vertebral deformities, which may be unrelated to osteoporosis. The aim of this study was to examine the role of risk factors, previously demonstrated to be associated with vertebral osteoporosis in females, in men with single/dual deformities compared to those with multiple deformities. Age stratified random samples of men aged 50 years and over were recruited from population registers in 30 European centers as part of the European Vertebral Osteoporosis Study (EVOS). Subjects had a lateral spinal radiograph and the presence of vertebral deformity was determined using the McCloskey algorithm. Lifestyle and other risk factor data were obtained from an interviewer-administered questionnaire. In all 6937 men with a mean age of 64.4 (SD = 8.5) years were studied of whom 738 (10.6%) subjects had one or two deformities, and 109 (1.6%) subjects had three or more deformities. There was a marked increase in the prevalence of multiple vertebral deformities with increasing age, but only a modest effect of age on the prevalence of single deformities. Associations between various risk factors for osteoporosis and vertebral deformity were analyzed separately in men with single/dual vertebral deformity from those with three or more deformities using logistic regression. After adjustment for age, there were statistically significant associations between the following risk factors and multiple deformities: previous hip fracture (odds ratio [OR] 10.5), lack of regular physical activity (OR 2.9), low body mass (OR 2.5), and previous steroid use (OR 2.3). By contrast, there were only weak associations with these same variables in males with single/dual deformities and, apart from poor self-reported general health, all of the 95% confidence intervals spanned unity. There was no difference in the reporting of very heavy levels of physical activity under the age of 50 years between men with single/dual deformities and those with multiple deformities. In conclusion, men with multiple deformities showed a similar pattern of risk factor association to those seen in women with vertebral deformity, in contrast to men with single/dual deformities.

Original publication




Journal article


J bone miner res

Publication Date





278 - 283


Aged, Bone Diseases, Female, Humans, Male, Middle Aged, Risk Factors, Sex Factors, Spine