Vegetarian women more likely to have hip fractures than meat eaters, study finds

According to a study, vegetarian diets may put women at higher risk of hip fractures.

  • According to a new study, vegetarian women are more likely to suffer from hip fractures than meat eaters.
  • Possible reasons include those women having a lower BMI on average or nutritional deficiencies.
  • Lead researcher James Webster told Insider that vegetarians don’t need to give up the diet.
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Vegetarian women are more likely than meat eaters to suffer from hip fractures as they age, a new study suggests.

Researchers at the University of Leeds in the UK studied data from more than 26,000 women aged 35-69, collected over a period of 22 years, and found that vegetarians were a third more likely to break a hip than those who regularly ate meat.

Data were compared between frequent meat eaters (who ate meat at least five times a week), occasional meat eaters (who ate meat less than five times a week), pescatariansand vegetarians.

Orthopedic surgeon Dr. David Geier, who was not involved in the research, told Insider he was “somewhat surprised” by the results.

Previous studies have shown that people who eat more fruits and vegetables have lower bone turnover markers and therefore a lower risk of osteoporosis, which greatly influences the risk of hip fracture,” he said. .

Geier and the study authors also note that Previous search showed an increased risk of hip fracture in frequent meat eaters, but other studies support new discoveries.

Vegetarians may have a lower BMI or nutritional deficiencies

James Webster, lead author and postgraduate researcher in the Nutritional Epidemiology Group at the University of Leeds, told Insider it’s unclear why vegetarian women appeared to be at higher risk for hip fractures in the study.

The researchers found that vegetarians had a lower BMI on average, and being underweight or overweight may increase the risk of hip fracture due to poor bone and muscle health, Webster said.

Vegetarians can also suffer from nutrient deficiencies, Webster said.

“Meat and fish are rich in several nutrients linked to bone health and fracture risk, such as protein, vitamins B12 and D, omega-3 fatty acids, phosphorus and zinc,” says Webster. “Although it is possible to get most of these nutrients from plant sources, eggs and dairy products, previous studies found lower intakes of these nutrients in vegetarians.”

The researchers found that vegetarians consumed less protein and vitamin B12and were less likely to meet recommended protein intake goals than those who ate meat regularly.

It’s also unclear whether the increased risk of hip fracture among vegetarians in the study was due to eating meat being protective or to some other factor, such as participants being less likely to consume a Balanced dietWebster said.

Vegetarians should do weight training and consider taking supplements

Vegetarians don’t need to start eating meat and fish, Webster said, but they should make sure they’re eating a nutritionally balanced diet.

Vegetarian diets have many benefits, Webster said. Vegetarian diets have been linked to a reduced risk of certain cancers, diabetes and heart diseaseand they can also help fight climate change because of the high carbon emissions associated with meat, he said.

Vegetarian diets can be healthy and unhealthy, just like meat-containing diets, Webster said, adding, “what’s most important in terms of health is having a balanced diet.”

To reduce the risk of hip fractures, vegetarians should maintain a healthy body weight, eat a balanced diet rich in whole grains, nuts, legumes, beans, eggs and milk, Webster said.

They should also consider eating fortified foods (such as cereal or milk), taking vitamin B12 and omega-3 supplementsavoid smoking and excessive alcohol consumption and exercise regularly, Webster said.

“Consider resistance exercisewhich has positive effects on bone and muscle health,” he said.

Geier agreed that resistance training is important for maintaining strong bones as you age, and suggested that vegetarians should also consider taking calcium and vitamin D supplements.

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