Journal of
Public Health and Epidemiology

  • Abbreviation: J. Public Health Epidemiol.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 2141-2316
  • DOI: 10.5897/JPHE
  • Start Year: 2009
  • Published Articles: 653

Full Length Research Paper

Risk factors of osteoporosis among adults in Ethiopia, the case of Tigrai region: A case control study

Alemayehu B. Kahsay
  • Alemayehu B. Kahsay
  • Department of Nursing, College of Health Sciences, Mekelle University, Ethiopia.
  • Google Scholar
Fikre E. Gashe
  • Fikre E. Gashe
  • School of Public Health, College of Health Sciences, Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia.
  • Google Scholar
Zenebe G. Debessai
  • Zenebe G. Debessai
  • Department of Economics, College of Business and Economics, Mekelle University, Ethiopia.
  • Google Scholar
Abebe Tegegne
  • Abebe Tegegne
  • Department of Medicine, College of Health Sciences, Mekelle University, Ethiopia.
  • Google Scholar
  • Tsigabu-Bezabih
  • Department of medicine, College of Health Sciences, Mekelle University, Ethiopia.
  • Google Scholar

  •  Accepted: 20 January 2014
  •  Published: 28 February 2014


Osteoporosis is one of the most common public health problems affecting adults and elderlies in developing countries. This study aims to examine the potential risk factors of osteoporosis among adults in Tigrai, Northern Ethiopia. This is a case-control study. Cases and controls were assigned by two radiologists after radiographic examination of the wrist. An interviewer administered questionnaire was used and information on demographic characteristics and potential risk factors were collected. Data was processed and analyzed using statistical package for social sciences (SPSS) version 19. Binary logistic regression was used to control confounders. A total of 130 osteoporotic cases and 266 controls participated in the study. The mean ± standard deviation (SD) age of cases and controls were 60.9 ± 10.1 and 46.9 ± 8.7 years, respectively. The multivariate analysis adjusted for age and sex showed that rural residents were 1.93 times more likely to develop osteoporosis than the urban inhabitants with an adjusted odds ratio (AOR) 1.93 (95% CI, 1.11, 3.36). The strongest association was also found when the work of the respondent involves decreased physical activity with AOR 3.53 (95% CI, 1.98 and 6.30). Furthermore, milk consumption greater than four times a week and smoking showed a significant association with the AOR 0.33 (95% CI, 0.19 and 0.58), and AOR 0.17 (95% CI, 0.05 and 0.58), respectively. Residing in the rural setting and smoking were positively associated with osteoporosis. In contrast, milk intake greater than four times a week, and when work involves vigorous exercise, appeared to be associated with a reduced risk of osteoporosis. Therefore, the findings from the study suggest the need for changes of lifestyle that includes encouraging adults to stop smoking, engage in vigorous physical activities aging and adequate dietary intake including milk. Strategies to identify and manage osteoporosis in the primary health care setting need to be established.

Key words: Case control, osteoporosis, risk factors, bone mineral density, DR-F digital radiography, Ethiopia.