History

Age-related bone loss has also been examined in prehistoric skeletal populations. Archaic Indians dating back to 2500 B.C. and subsisting as hunter-gatherers showed differential rates between females and males as well as overall rates of osteoporosis quite similar to those of a modern hospital population. A more recent Hopewell Indian population showed greater age-related bone loss, probably resulting from genetic or nutritional factors (Perzigian 1973). A study of three ancient Nubian skeletal populations found that osteoporosis occurred earlier in life among these women as compared to modern Western samples, perhaps secondary to inadequate calcium intake or extended lactation (Dewey et al. 1969).

R. Ted Steinbock

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