Because of the increasing number of elderly people in the United States, the total number of hip fractures in persons 50 years and older will rise from 238,000 to 512,000 by the year 2040, with a concomitant increase in avoidable deaths, disability, and medical costs. The total annual cost of hip fractures (in 1984 dollars) will increase from approximately $7.2 billion currently to $16 billion in the year 2040. Universal use of estrogen therapy by postmenopausal white women may slow but not prevent this rise in hip fractures. New, effective, and widely sapplicable strategies to prevent hip fractures are urgently needed.
From the Division of General Internal Medicine and the Clinical Epidemiology Program, Department of Epidemiology and International Health, University of California, San Francisco, California.
Reprint requests to Steven R. Cummings, M.D., University of California, Medical Center, 400 Parnassus Ave., Room A-405, San Francisco, CA 94143–0320.
This work was supported by the Kaiser Family Foundation Faculty Fellowship in General Internal Medicine (Dr. Cummings) and Grant #1R01AG05407 from the National Institute on Aging.
Received: August 23, 1988.