Summary In order to assess the relative influence of aging and menopause in determining the decrease of bone mass in adult women, two groups of normal subjects were examined in this retrospective, cross-sectional study. In group A, bone mineral density (BMD) was evaluated at spine (L 2–L 4) by dual X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) (Hologic QDR-1000); in group B, BMD was measured at the distal forearm by single photon absorptiometry (SPA) (Osteometer DT 100). Both groups were further divided into two subgroups: Al and Bl included women with the same postmenopausal, but different chronological age; A2 and B2 included women with the same chronological, but different postmenopausal age. BMD and BMI-corrected BMD (cBMD) were plotted versus age and years since menopause, respectively. Mathematical analysis of the correlation curves between BMD and chronological age showed that the decrease of BMD is very similar at spine and forearm, and is better fitted by a quadratic function. Age-related fractional bone diminution shows a progressive increase with aging (at spine: −0.38%/year at 45 years, −0.81%/year at 50, −1.3%/year at 55 and −1.9%/year at 60. At forearm: −0.5%/year at 50 years, −1.1%/year at 55 and −1.68%/year at 60). On the other hand, menopause-related BMD decrement is very evident during the first year since menopause (at spine: −8.1%/year; at forearm: −3.4%/year), and progressively decreases, according to a logarithmic function. Ten years later, yearly diminution of BMD is below 1%/year and 0.4%/year at spine and forearm, respectively. At this time, age contributes to determine bone loss for 2/3 and menopause for 1/3.