Proper diet means lower hip-fracture risk for women over 50

March 7, 2018

A decades-long U.S. study which tracked data of more than 100, 000 men and women in the country has found that women over 50 who eat a healthy diet have lower hip-fracture risk.

There is no such link among men.

“We often find differences between men and women when it comes to the effect of diet on osteoporosis and hip fractures,” said lead author Diane Feskanich of Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston.

“Women have less bone to begin with and go through an early bone loss around menopause. Men lose bone more slowly and experience hip fractures – on average – at a later age. So, it is quite possible that diet may be more important in women for preserving bone,” she said.

Feskanich also said that a healthy diet not only benefit bone health, but other aspects of health, too.

The researchers looked at data on 74,446 postmenopausal women participating in the Nurses’ Health Study between 1980 and 2012.  Meanwhile, 36,602 men age 50 or older took part in the Health Professionals Follow-up Study between 1986 and 2012.

The study found that there were 2,143 hip fractures among the women and 603 among the men across the study period.

Feskanich and colleagues rated the study participants’ diets over time according to three well-regarded scales of diet quality: The AHEI, the Dietary Approach to Stop Hypertension (DASH) and The Alternative Mediterranean Diet Score. All three scales award points for fruits and vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy products and other healthy foods. Points are withheld or even deducted if a diet includes high levels of red and processed meats, sodium or sugar-laden beverages.

When they compared these diet-quality scores to the incidence of hip fractures over the years, the study team found a significant difference in risk between women who scored highest on the AHEI scale and those who scored lowest.

“Vitamins and minerals including calcium, vitamin D and vitamin K are essential for maintaining bone hardness and structure throughout the lifespan,” said Priya Khorana, an independent nutrition consultant in New York City who wasn’t involved in the study.

“Sure, bone integrity declines and composition weakens as people age, but this rate of decline can be attenuated with proper diets that include these key nutrients – among other foods,” she said in an email.


Category: Education, Features

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