Bone Health

Approximately 53.4 million Americans have low bone mass, placing them at increased risk for osteoporosis – a condition in which bones become weak and brittle. While bone mass is affected by genetic and environmental factors (such as ancestry, nutrition, and physical activity), biological sex and hormones play an important role in developing bone mass. Estrogen is a hormone that helps to build and maintain bone density throughout the life-course, leaving women at increased risk of bone fracture after menopause. Breaking a bone is a serious complication of osteoporosis, which occurs in approximately half of all women over age 50 with this disease. In older adults, complications related to a broken bone can be life threatening and result in the need for long-term nursing care.

Bone Health is part of the SWHR Healthy Aging Network, which engages the following focus areas: Alzheimer’s Disease, Bone Health, Heart Health, Menopause, and Obesity.

Program Goals

  • Address the impact of bone health on women’s health across the lifespan, with a special focus on osteoporosis and bone fracture 
  • Review the state of science and develop strategies to address knowledge gaps and unmet needs related to bone health research and the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of bone-related conditions in women 
  • Identify opportunities to leverage innovation, increase access to care, and reduce bone health disparities and disease burden for women 
  • Develop policy actions and materials to expand education and raise awareness about bone health and diseases for women, health care providers, and policy stakeholders

Facts about Bone Health


of the 10 million Americans with osteoporosis over age 50 are women

1 in 2

women over age 50 will break a bone due to osteoporosis

Native Americans have a

11.9% risk of osteoporosis,

which is the highest risk among racial/ethnic groups

More about Bone Health