Estimated prevalence of osteoporosis from a Nationwide Health Insurance database in Taiwan

Nan Ping Yang, Chung Yeh Deng, Yiing Jenq Chou, Po Quang Chen, Ching Heng Lin, Pesus Chou, Hong Jen Chang*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

78 Scopus citations


Approximately 9.24% of the Taiwanese population is aged 65 years or older. Among them, osteoporosis is a major problem, along with it associated age-related fractures. We investigated the prevalence of osteoporosis in 1996-2001 by sampling Taiwan's National Health Insurance (NHI) database. Data from 102,763 men (51.27%) and 97,654 women (48.73%) were evaluated. In this cohort, osteoporosis was recorded in each yearly dataset if the codes 733.0 or 733.00-733.09 were found on a search of the administrative or outpatient sub-databanks. A stable estimated prevalence of osteoporosis was calculated according to Taiwan's NHI sampling data from 1999 to 2001. The results showed a trend toward increasing proportions of coded osteoporosis with age, more predominantly in the female population. The averaged prevalence of osteoporosis, between 1999 and 2001, in those aged ≥50 years was 1.63% for men and 11.35% for women. These estimates were lower than those reported elsewhere for Taiwan and for Japan but more equal to that in the Mexican American sub-population of the United States. In conclusion, the prevalence of osteoporosis is underestimated in the NHI database. Policymakers should be aware of this finding and allocate resources accordingly.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)329-337
Number of pages9
JournalHealth Policy
Issue number3
StatePublished - Feb 2006


  • Osteoporosis prevalence
  • Taiwan


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