One hundred and thirty six healthy white females within 30 months of their last menstrual period (mean age 52 years) were examined to determine the usefulness of a risk factor questionnaire in predicting bone density and subsequent loss. Bone density was assessed at baseline and at 12 monthly intervals. None of the proposed risk factor variables with the exception of nulliparity correlated with the baseline spinal or femoral bone density. As a predictor of bone loss only drinking alcohol (more than four units/day) was significant. A risk factor score derived from the questionnaire before its administration did not correlate with baseline bone density or subsequent bone loss. In most normal women questioned soon after a natural menopause, an estimate of bone density and subsequent bone loss and hence osteoporotic risk cannot be reliably made using a simple risk factor questionnaire.
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