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Pat Wingert and Barbara Kantrowitz

Pat Wingert’s enthusiasm for her craft has not waned over her 45-year career in print journalism. A natural leader, Wingert was the editor in chief of The Daily Illini and then segued into the Chicago Sun-Times and Chicago Tribune. As a 25-year correspondent for Newsweek, she delved into a wide range of issues, including politics, social trends and education. Wingert was named a Spencer Fellow at Columbia University, where she spent a year researching and writing about education. She is currently a reporter for the nonprofit Hechinger Institute on Education and the Media.

Barbara Kantrowitz is an award-winning magazine editor and writer. She worked at Newsweek for nearly 25 years in the magazine’s society section, where she wrote and edited dozens of cover stories on health, education, religion and women’s issues. Kantrowitz has also worked at People, The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Newsday and The Hartford Courant, and has freelanced for many national publications. She is a graduate of Cornell University and Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism, where she has been an adjunct professor since 2009.

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Reduced Risk of Osteoporosis

Ask the Expert


I'm an African-American woman, and I've heard that we're much less likely to get osteoporosis than Caucasian or Asian women. Is this true even if I'm tall and thin?


Generally speaking, African-American (and Hispanic) women are less likely than Caucasians to get osteoporosis. Among women 50 and older, about 20 percent of non-Hispanic Caucasian and Asian women develop osteoporosis, and 52 percent have low bone mass. About 10 percent of Hispanic women have osteoporosis and 49 percent have low bone mass, whereas only 5 percent of African-American women have osteoporosis and 35 percent have low bone mass. Overall, African-American women experience only a third as many fractures as white women do.

But you're smart to zero in on your body type. The main reason that fewer African-American women are diagnosed with osteoporosis is that they tend to have higher bone mass. But this isn't true of all African-American women. Because of the stereotype that osteoporosis is a Caucasian woman's disease, health-care providers are less likely to focus on detection and prevention of bone mineral density problems in minority women. Even after sustaining a fracture, African-American and Hispanic women are less likely than Caucasians and Asians to get referrals for treatment of osteoporosis. So be proactive and bring up the subject with your doctor.

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