MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings of the study?
Dr. Crandall: We found that higher social class was linked with a lower risk of fractures among non-Caucasian women. Compared with non-Caucasian women who had no more than a high school education, those with at least some postgraduate education had nearly 90% lower rates of non-traumatic fracture. These results were present even after we accounted for income.
MedicalResearch.com: Were any of the findings unexpected?
Dr. Crandall: It was at first surprising that higher education was associated with decreased fracture risk only among non-Caucasian, but not Caucasian women. We suspect that minority race women who are less educated are exposed to more life stresses than are less educated Caucasian women. The stresses faced by less educated Caucasian women may not affect bone strength enough to influence fracture risk in mid-life.
MedicalResearch.com: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?
Dr. Crandall: Traditionally, clinicians have not considered socioeconomic factors when they assess fracture risk. Women, especially minority women, with socioeconomic stressors, may want to be especially vigilant in seeing that they maintain “bone healthy” habits, such as avoiding cigarette smoking, getting daily weight-bearing exercise (such as walking), avoiding heavy alcohol intake, and ensuring that they get adequate calcium and vitamin D intake.
MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?
Dr. Crandall: Future studies are needed to determine what are the biological and behavioral reasons for the apparent protection that is provided by higher educational level on osteoporotic fracture risk. In that way, we can better target women at increased risk of future fracture, and design preventive strategies for them.
Higher social class linked to fewer bone fractures among non-white women
C. J. Crandall, W. Han, G. A. Greendale, T. Seeman, P. Tepper, R. Thurston, C. Karvonen, Gutierrez, A. S. Karlamangla
Volume 25, Issue 4 , pp 1379-1388