[en] Bone mineral content (BMC) and bone mineral density (BMD) of lumbar spine have been measured in 695 healthy postmenopausal and 64 type I osteoporotic Belgian, Caucasian females. Bone loss is strongly correlated to time elapse from menopause (Tm) with a maximum rate of bone loss during the first five years of menopause. BMC (gHA) = 461 + 0.662 ln Tm -0.481 (ln Tm)2 and BMD (gHA/cm2) = 0.91 + 0.00711 ln Tm - 0.00846 (ln Tm)2 (in both cases p less than 0.001 and Tm expressed in months of menopause). After 20 years of menopause, 50 to 60% of normal women have vertebral BMC and BMD values below the 90th percentile of women with vertebral fractures and, thus, might be considered to have asymptomatic osteoporosis. We conclude that prevention of postmenopausal osteoporosis should be initiated as soon as possible after the onset of menopause and that bone density screening should be extended in elderly in order to detect and allow treatment of asymptomatic "densitometric" osteoporosis.