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Height has been associated with increased risk of fracture of the neck of femur. However, information on the association of height with fractures at other sites is limited and conflicting. A total of 796,081 postmenopausal women, who reported on health and lifestyle factors including a history of previous fractures and osteoporosis, were followed for 8 years for incident fracture at various sites by record linkage to National Health Service hospital admission data. Adjusted relative risks of fracture at different sites per 10-cm increase in height were estimated using Cox regression. Numbers with site-specific fractures were: humerus (3036 cases), radius and/or ulna (1775), wrist (9684), neck of femur (5734), femur (not neck) (713), patella (649), tibia and/or fibula (1811), ankle (5523), and clavicle/spine/rib (2174). The risk of fracture of the neck of femur increased with increasing height (relative risk [RR] = 1.48 per 10-cm increase, 99% confidence interval [CI] 1.39-1.57) and the proportional increase in risk was significantly greater than for all other fracture sites (pheterogeneity < 0.001). For the other sites, fracture risk also increased with height (RR = 1.15 per 10 cm, CI 1.12-1.18), but there was only very weak evidence of a possible difference in risk between the sites (pheterogeneity = 0.03). In conclusion, taller women are at increased risk of fracture, especially of the neck of femur.

Original publication




Journal article


J Bone Miner Res

Publication Date





725 - 731


FRACTURE, HEIGHT, MILLION WOMEN STUDY, POSTMENOPAUSAL, PROSPECTIVE STUDIES, Aged, Body Height, Female, Fractures, Bone, Humans, Middle Aged, Postmenopause, Risk Factors, United Kingdom