This prospective population-based cohort study investigated factors predicting distal forearm fracture (DFF) in perimenopausal women. The study population consisted of 11,798 women from the Kuopio Osteoporosis Risk Factor and Prevention (OSTPRE) Study in Finland. Mean baseline age of these women was 52.3 (SD 2.9) years (range 47-56 years) and 68% were postmenopausal. Three hundred and sixty-eight women (3.1%) had a validated DFF during the 5-year follow-up. Previous wrist fracture, postmenopausal state, age and nulliparity were independent predictors of DFF, while hormone replacement therapy (HRT), dairy calcium and overweight protected against it in multivariate Cox regression analysis: previous wrist fracture increased the DFF risk by 158% (p 25 kg/m2) by 36% (p = 0.0002) and parity by 29% (p = 0.031). Combining dichotomous low weight, low use of calcium, non-use of HRT and previous wrist fracture into a risk score gave a dose-response effect by score level: the presence (vs absence) of all four risk factors resulted in a 12-fold DFF risk. Nevertheless, the sensitivity and specificity of the score for detecting DFF remained low. It was concluded that HRT, high nutritional calcium intake and overweight protect against but a history of wrist fracture predisposes to perimenopausal distal forearm fracture. A simple risk factor inquiry would help to identify perimenopausal women at high risk of distal forearm fracture.