OBJECTIVES: The purpose of this study was to assess the association between dietary intake and osteoporosis risk in postmenopausal women. MATERIALS & METHODS: Bone mineral density was measured at the lumbar spine by dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry and a structured questionnaire was administered by a trained interviewer, which included information on sociodemo-graphics, medical and reproductive history, and dietary intake. The study sample included 134 osteoporotic and 137 non-osteoporotic women between 52 and 68 years of age. Nutrient variables were classified into tertiles. Odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were calculated which compared the highest tertile with the lowest tertile as a reference group. RESULTS: ORs for osteoporosis were 1.47 (95% CI: 1.03~2.05) for total protein, 1.62 (95% CI: 0.51~3.92) for animal protein, and 2.98 (95% CI: 1.42~4.23) for sodium. ORs for osteoporosis in the highest tertile were: 0.42 (95% CI: 0.23~0.83) for vegetable protein, 0.72 (95% CI: 0.51~0.90) for Ca, and 0.65 (95% CI: 0.49~ 0.88) for Fe, relative to the respective lowest tertile. A brief food frequency questionnaire (FFQ) with 16 food items, was used in the cross-sectional survey. After adjustment for other risk factors for low bone mineral density, highest intake frequency of protein-sourced food was associated with lower risks for osteoporosis (OR: 0.57, 95% CI: 0.39~0.83, p for trend: 0.003). CONCLUSIONS: This results support that in order to prevent osteoporosis and low bone mineral density, adequate nutrient intakes are essential factors in postmenopausal women.