Hong Kong Osteoporosis Study

Founding Principal
Prof Wai-Chee Kung, Annie
Principal Investigator
(HKU site)
Dr.Ching-Lung Cheung
Principal Investigator
(QMH site)
Prof Choon-Beng Tan, Kathryn
Since 1995
Ongoing, Open for application

About the study

The HKOS was initiated in 1995. The cohort participants were community-dwelling Southern Chinese men and women of Han descent recruited from public road shows and health fairs held in various districts of Hong Kong from 1995 to 2010. We also included family members in the recruitment. From 1995 to 2004, participants with bone mineral density (BMD)<-1.3 at either the hip or spine were identified as the proband and their extended family members were invited to participate the study. A total of 306 families and 1,459 participants from two to four generations were recruited. Along with 7,994 random participants, a total 9,449 participants were recruited.

From mid-2015, we commenced a full-scale in-person follow up study. Apart from bone health, we aim to perform additional evaluation of other age-related biological variables. These include musculoskeletal disease related data, parameters related to metabolic syndrome, sarcopenia, and gait and balance.


The initial Hong Kong Osteoporosis Study (HKOS) aimed to examine the genetic and environmental risk factors of osteoporosis-related traits in a broad age range (from 12 to 105 years) and to develop a risk prediction tool for osteoporosis and fracture in the Hong Kong Chinese population.

Growing evidence shows that osteoporosis is not an isolated disease. Bone is considered to be an endocrine organ that affects multiple tissues and organs, whereas mineral metabolism has also been implicated in multiple diseases, such as diabetes, and cardiovascular diseases. It has also been shown that sarcopenia is an independent risk factor of fracture and has a synergistic effect on fracture risk. Therefore subsequent follow up studies were performed to examine the underlying relationship of bone and mineral metabolism with relative comorbidity, and to understand the interplay between osteoporosis and sarcopenia in bone and general health.


  • Hong Kong Citizen
  • Southern Chinese men and women of Han descent

Charge & Remuneration

Charge: Free
Remuneration: N/A
Potential Benefits: Free blood test (worth HK$500) and free whole body DEXA scan (worth HK$1200)


If you take part in this study, you will be arranged one visit and perform the following assessments:

  • Acquiring your demographic information (sex, age, education level), your medical, surgical and hospitalization record and lifestyle habits)
  • Measuring your clinical data, such as neck circumferences, body mass index (BMI), heart rate, blood pressure, handgrip strength, gait and balance
  • Performing DEXA scan to measure your whole body fat mass, lean mass and bone mineral density (BMD) of hip and spine
  • 42 ml of blood, 5 ml of saliva and 20 ml of urine will also be collected for biomarker, genetic and molecular analysis.


Table 1. Summary of variables collected throughout the study period

Phase Examination Measures
Baseline Questionnaire maternal age, ethnicity, parity, social assistance, education, smoking and alcohol consumption, back pain, reproductive health, physical activity, medical history, medication history, FFQ for calcium and phytoestrogen
Anthrometric data height, weight, bioimpedance
clinical measurements grip strength
Biochemical measurements calcium, phosphate, alkaline phosphatase, parathyroid hormone, estrogen, testosterone, 25-hydroxyvitamin D, creatinine, albumin
BMD measurements DXA at hip and spine; quantitative heel ultrasound, pQCT
Biobank collection DNA, plasma, serum, urine
Ongoing Questionnaire maternal age, ethnicity, parity, social assistance, education, smoking and alcohol consumption, back pain, reproductive health, physical activity, medical history, medication history, FFQ, sleeping behaviour
Anthrometric data height, weight, bioimpedance, circumferences at the hip, neck, waist, and head
Clinical measurements gait speed, grip strength, lean mass, gait and balance measurements using Matscan, blood pressure, pulse
Biochemical measurements calcium, phosphate, total cholesterol, LDL-C, HDL-C, triglycerides, creatinine, albumin, plasma glucose, A1C
BMD measurements whole-body DXA and DXA at hip and spine
Biobank collection DNA, plasma, serum, urine, PBMC, saliva

Sign Up

The study is not yet completed.