Stop and think – has your Mum broken a hip? Does your dad have a curved spine? Did your grandmother lose height quite rapidly as she got older? These are all signs for osteoporosis and if they have experienced a broken bone, or have been diagnosed with osteoporosis, it can mean that your family has a history of osteoporosis or low bone density.

If one or both of my parents has had a fragility fracture, what is my risk of fracture?

Understanding your family’s medical history is really important, because bone strength is strongly inherited. Having a parent who had osteoporosis, experienced fractures, lost height or had a stooped or curved spine indicates low bone density in your family and means you might be at greater risk of fractures.1

A study of 34,928 men and women looked at the effect of parental history of any fracture or hip fracture on the risk of fractures – it found that:2

  • The risk of an osteoporotic fracture is increased by 22%, compared with someone without family history of fracture
  • And this risk increases to 54% if your parent has suffered a hip fracture

Women with osteoporosis have lower bone density, and their daughters do too

In another study by Seeman et al, the bone density of postmenopausal osteoporotic women was compared to that of normal postmenopausal women. The bone density of the daughters from both groups was also compared.3

  • Postmenopausal women with osteoporosis had up to 33% lower bone density compared to normal postmenopausal women
  • Daughters of women with postmenopausal osteoporosis also had up to 7% lower bone density compared to daughters of normal postmenopausal women

Assess your risk before osteoporosis occurs

Take the International Osteoporosis Foundation’s OSTEOPOROSIS RISK CHECK to learn more about the risk factors for osteoporosis and to assess your individual risk.Access it here. Complete the short online test and take your results to your doctor to ask for a bone health assessment.




1 Sambrook P, et al. Lancet 2006;367:2010–18.

2 Healthy Bones Australia. Breaking a bone and bone health. 2020.

3 Balasubramanian A, et al. Osteoporos Int 2019;30:79–92.

4 Foundation IO. Spot the signs of a breaking spine. 2018.

5 International Osteoporosis Foundation. The Asia-Pacific regional audit. Epidemiology, costs & burden of osteoporosis in 2013. 2013.