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Open Access Research article

Disparities in bone density measurement history and osteoporosis medication utilisation in Swiss women: results from the Swiss Health Survey 2007

Rita Born* and Marcel Zwahlen

Author Affiliations

Institute of Social and Preventive Medicine, Bern University, Bern, Switzerland

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BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders 2013, 14:10  doi:10.1186/1471-2474-14-10

Published: 5 January 2013



Although factors associated with the utilisation of bone density measurement (BDM) and osteoporosis treatment have been regularly assessed in the US and Canada, they have not been effectively analysed in European countries. This study assessed factors associated with the utilisation of BDM and osteoporosis medication (OM) in Switzerland.


The Swiss Health Survey 2007 data included self-reported information on BDM and OM for women aged 40 years and older who were living in private households. Multivariable logistic regression analysis was used to identify sociodemographic, socioeconomic, healthcare-related and osteoporosis risk factors associated with BDM and OM utilisation.


The lifetime prevalence of BDM was 25.6% (95% CI: 24.3-26.9%) for women aged 40 years and older. BDM utilisation was associated with most sociodemographic factors, all the socioeconomic and healthcare-related factors, and with major osteoporosis risk factors analysed. The prevalence of current OM was 7.8% (95% CI: 7.0-8.6%) and it was associated with some sociodemographic and most healthcare-related factors but only with one socioeconomic factor.


In Swiss women, ever having had a BDM and current OM were low and utilisation disparities exist according to sociodemographic, socioeconomic and healthcare-related factors. This might foster further health inequalities. The reasons for these findings should be addressed in further studies of the elderly women, including those living in institutions.

Bone density measurement; Osteoporosis; Medication; Sociodemographic; Socioeconomic; Health survey