Girls on vegetarian weight loss plan have increased threat of hip fracture in comparison with common meat-eaters

A examine of over 26,000 middle-aged UK girls reveals these with a vegetarian weight loss plan had a 33% increased threat of hip fracture in comparison with common meat-eaters.

College of Leeds analysis, revealed at the moment (Thursday, August 11) within the journal BMC Medication, investigated the danger of hip fracture in occasional meat-eaters; pescatarians, individuals who eat fish however not meat; and vegetarians in comparison with common meat-eaters.

Amongst 26,318 girls, 822 hip fracture circumstances have been noticed over roughly 20 years – that represented simply over 3% of the pattern inhabitants. After adjustment for components corresponding to smoking and age, vegetarians have been the one weight loss plan group with an elevated threat of hip fracture.

This examine is considered one of only a few research to check threat of hip fracture in vegetarians and meat-eaters the place the incidence of hip fracture was confirmed from hospital data.

The scientists stress the necessity for extra analysis into the precise causes of why vegetarians have been at a better threat of hip fracture.

Vegetarian diets will be ‘wholesome or unhealthy’

Examine lead writer James Webster, a doctoral researcher from the Faculty of Meals Science and Diet at Leeds, stated: “Our examine highlights potential considerations concerning threat of hip fracture in girls who’ve a vegetarian weight loss plan. Nonetheless, it’s not warning folks to desert vegetarian diets. As with every weight loss plan, you will need to perceive private circumstances and what vitamins are wanted for a balanced wholesome life-style.

“Vegetarian diets can range broadly from individual to individual and will be wholesome or unhealthy, similar to diets that embrace animal merchandise.

“Nonetheless, it’s regarding that vegetarian diets typically have decrease intakes of vitamins which are linked with bone and muscle well being. Some of these vitamins typically are extra ample in meat and different animal merchandise than in vegetation, corresponding to protein, calcium, and different micronutrients.

“Low consumption of those vitamins can result in decrease bone mineral density and muscle mass, which may make you extra prone to hip fracture threat. This makes it particularly essential for additional analysis to raised perceive components driving the elevated threat in vegetarians, whether or not it’s specific nutrient deficiencies or weight administration, in order that we may help folks to make wholesome decisions.”

Plant-based diets rising in reputation

Vegetarian diets have gained reputation in recent times, with a 2021 YouGov survey placing the dimensions of the UK vegetarian inhabitants at roughly 5-7%. It’s typically perceived as a more healthy dietary choice, with earlier proof that reveals a vegetarian weight loss plan can cut back the dangers of a number of power illnesses, together with diabetes, coronary heart illness, and most cancers in comparison with omnivorous diets.

There may be additionally a worldwide name for lowering the consumption of animal merchandise in an effort to sort out local weather change.

Understanding hip fracture threat in vegetarians is subsequently changing into more and more essential to public well being.

Examine co-author Professor Janet Cade, chief of the Dietary Epidemiology Group within the Faculty of Meals Science and Diet at Leeds, stated: “Hip fracture is a worldwide well being subject with excessive financial prices that causes lack of independence, reduces high quality of life, and will increase threat of different well being points.

Plant-based diets have been linked with poor bone well being, however there was an absence of proof on the hyperlinks to hip fracture threat. This examine is a crucial step in understanding the potential threat plant-based diets might current over the long-term and what will be performed to mitigate these dangers.”

Professor Janet Cade, examine co-author, chief of the Dietary Epidemiology Group, Faculty of Meals Science and Diet at Leeds

The workforce used knowledge from the UK Girls’s Cohort Examine to analyze doable hyperlinks between weight loss plan and hip fracture threat. The nationwide cohort of middle-aged girls was established on the College of Leeds to discover hyperlinks between weight loss plan and power illness, encompassing a variety of various consuming patterns. Dietary data was collected utilizing a meals frequency questionnaire and was validated utilizing a 4-day meals diary in a subsample of girls.

On the time they have been recruited into the cohort examine, the ladies ranged in age from 35 to 69 years.

Impact of low BMI

The analysis workforce discovered that the common BMI amongst vegetarians was barely decrease than the common among the many common meat eaters. Earlier analysis has proven a hyperlink between low BMI and a excessive threat of hip fracture.

Decrease BMI can point out persons are underweight, which may imply poorer bone and muscle well being, and better threat of hip fracture. Additional investigation is required to find out if low BMI is the rationale for the noticed increased threat in vegetarians.

Examine co-author, Dr Darren Greenwood, a biostatistician within the Faculty of Medication at Leeds, stated: “This examine is simply a part of the broader image of weight loss plan and wholesome bones and muscle groups in older age.

“Additional analysis is required to substantiate whether or not there could possibly be related leads to males, to discover the function of physique weight, and to establish the explanations for various outcomes in vegetarians and meat-eaters.”


Journal reference:

Webster, J., et al. (2022) Danger of hip fracture in meat-eaters, pescatarians, and vegetarians: outcomes from the UK Girls’s Cohort Examine. BMC Medication.

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