Bone fractures are a global public health issue; however, to date, no comprehensive study of their incidence and burden has been done. We aimed to measure the global, regional, and national incidence, prevalence, and years lived with disability (YLDs) of fractures from 1990 to 2019.
Using the framework of the Global Burden of Diseases, Injuries, and Risk Factors Study (GBD) 2019, we compared numbers and age-standardised rates of global incidence, prevalence, and YLDs of fractures across the 21 GBD regions and 204 countries and territories, by age, sex, and year, from 1990 to 2019. We report estimates with 95% uncertainty intervals (UIs).
Globally, in 2019, there were 178 million (95% UI 162–196) new fractures (an increase of 33·4% [30·1–37·0] since 1990), 455 million (428–484) prevalent cases of acute or long-term symptoms of a fracture (an increase of 70·1% [67·5–72·5] since 1990), and 25·8 million (17·8–35·8) YLDs (an increase of 65·3% [62·4–68·0] since 1990). The age-standardised rates of fractures in 2019 were 2296·2 incident cases (2091·1–2529·5) per 100 000 population (a decrease of 9·6% [8·1–11·1] since 1990), 5614·3 prevalent cases (5286·1–5977·5) per 100 000 population (a decrease of 6·7% [5·7–7·6] since 1990), and 319·0 YLDs (220·1–442·5) per 100 000 population (a decrease of 8·4% [7·2–9·5] since 1990). Lower leg fractures of the patella, tibia or fibula, or ankle were the most common and burdensome fracture in 2019, with an age-standardised incidence rate of 419·9 cases (345·8–512·0) per 100 000 population and an age-standardised rate of YLDs of 190·4 (125·0–276·9) per 100 000 population. In 2019, age-specific rates of fracture incidence were highest in the oldest age groups, with, for instance, 15 381·5 incident cases (11 245·3–20 651·9) per 100 000 population in those aged 95 years and older.
The global age-standardised rates of incidence, prevalence, and YLDs for fractures decreased slightly from 1990 to 2019, but the absolute counts increased substantially. Older people have a particularly high risk of fractures, and more widespread injury-prevention efforts and access to screening and treatment of osteoporosis for older individuals should help to reduce the overall burden.
GBD 2019 Fractures Collaborators. Global, regional, and national burden of bone fractures in 204 countries and territories, 1990–2019: a systematic analysis from the Global Burden of Disease Study 2019. The Lancet Healthy Longevity. 19 August 2021. doi: 10.1016/S2666-7568(21)00172-0.