BACKGROUND: The incidence of osteoporosis and its related fractures are expected to increase significantly in the rapidly aging Korean population. Reliable data on the prevalence of this disease is essential for treatment planning. However, sparse data on Korean patients is available. METHODS: We analyzed data from the Korea National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (KNHANES) 2008 to 2010. Bone mineral density (BMD) was measured at the femoral neck and lumbar spine using dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry. Osteopenia and osteoporosis were diagnosed according to the World Health Organization T-score criteria. We analyzed the BMD data of 17,208 people (men, 7,837; women, 9,368). RESULTS: The adjusted prevalence of osteoporosis was 7.8% in men versus 37.0% in women. No significant difference was observed in the prevalence of osteopenia between genders (men, 47.0%; women, 48.7%). The prevalence of osteoporosis in men in their 50s was 4.0%, in their 60s was 7.2%, in their 70s was 15.1%, and in their 80s was 26.7%. The figures in women were 15.2%, 36.5%, 62.7%, and 85.8%, respectively. The age group with the maximal BMD differed between genders. In the men, 20s had the highest value in all the skeletal sites. However, in the women, the maximal BMD in the femoral neck, lumbar spine, and the total hip was observed in their 20s, 30s, and 40s, respectively. The onset age of osteoporosis differed between genders. Osteoporosis in the femoral neck began at 55 years in the women and at 60 years in the men. CONCLUSION: The prevalence of osteoporosis in Korea was significantly high. In addition, the age-related changes in the prevalence of osteoporosis differed according to gender and skeletal site.